Saturday, January 23, 2016

Creed: Not Necessarily a Movie Review

It was my 18th birthday when I first saw the original Rocky movie in a bug-infested lowly theatre in Angeles City, Pampanga. That was 9 years after the flick was shown in 1st class movie houses all over the world. And since then, I followed all the Rocky films for almost 4 decades.  Just minutes ago today before my day starts, I watched Creed in full, a 2015 film directed by Ryan Coogler starring Michael B. Jordan (just a namesake of the famed basketball superstar) as Adonis Johnson or simply Donny, and of course Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, the lead character of the all Rocky’s from 1 to 6. Stallone won the Best Supporting Actor Award from the Golden Globe through Creed just last week but did not thank his director and his co-star in his acceptance speech but that’s another story.

With the benefit of modern communication technology and the advancement of cyberspace, it’s now very convenient to watch movies anytime and anyplace most preferable to us. Just to let you know, except for Creed, I do not download and eventually watch newly released movies and I rather re-watch those English films I've seen when I was young maybe to reminiscent and to understand in depth a certain film, its true message, meaning and lessons that I failed to absorb and internalize or understand with my young and entertainment-focused self back then. Familiarity with Rocky movies from my time made me curious about this new, 2015 movie, a reboot actually. Creed, true enough, is a personally a nostalgically spin-off movie for me. 

I will not be reviewing Creed like what known movie critics are doing. I will not dwell on its synopsis and technical and projection and other cinematic fragments and treatments. This is not a review but more of a reflective reaction hinges on the lessons I acquire seeing this one heck of a film. (As a substitute, I would like to lead you to THIS link for an alternative read in case you are more interested in review.) Since this is more of a reflective reaction on the film, in this blog entry, I will present some of my insights, mainly built on quotes and situations from the movie as against some personal reflections.

Over and above, Sylvester Stallone kept the Rocky movie franchise pertinent and stimulating through generations and this question settles in my mind at this very moment: What are the things I have initiated in my life that would outlast me? A train of thoughts flashed through me and notable among them is how I raised my 3 wonderful God-considering and intelligent children. Two of them are now professional teachers, just like me and their nanay and they possessed gifts that can be traced to my very being. I guided them, together with my wife, to the importance of education and faith, the beauty of reading and writing and connecting with people and shared the things that I cherished when I was young including the unrecorded personal creed that I am still trying to live by.

For Mary Anne (Phycilla Rashad), past is past. Mary Anne, Apollo Creed’s widow, instead of ignoring the child Adonis (or Donny), she raised her husband’s bastard and abandoned son and gave him a good future and treated him like her own kid. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) was Rocky Balboa’s nemesis turned best friend in number of Rocky sequels. Like Mary Anne, I did not tie myself thinking my about my wasted days when I was a teenager but strived to finish my studies while working even it took me 10 years to graduate from my course. Also in one scene, Balboa pushed Johnson saying, “That bell don’t mean school’s out.  Keep going Donny.”  To add, that is exactly what I am doing in my life as a social communicator and advocate, as a family man and civil servant and as a thinker and a Catholic believer.

Our toughest opponent is our self. In another scene as you can see in the above photo, Balboa told Johnson while inside the gym as the latter looks at a mirror, “That’s the toughest opponent when you get in the ring or in life.” Well, it goes without elaborating but nice reminder too for me especially on this day. Again, to return back to my family and my children, I am part of them but they have their own identity, they have their own ring to invade, their own life to live, as Mary Anne told Donny, “You are your father’s son. You are part of him. But you don’t have to be him.” But I hope someday, I’ll see my children examining the gloves that I wore without necessarily wearing them. By the way, Adonis, who changed his surname from Johnson to Creed, on the big night of the big fight, wore his father’s trunk, given to Adonis by Mary Anne, for the world to know that he’s Apollo’s son, and whom did he pass his legacy. Creed is not only about boxing but more importantly about life's triumph, about legacy, about family.

What an increedible movie to start my day, on my birthday, today. ...

(Photo; Google)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On Miss Universe Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach as James Bond Girl

If you are not a follower of James Bond movies, probably you are not familiar with following characters: Pussy Galore (Goldfinger, 1964), Plenty O’Toole (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971), Kissy Suzuki (You Only Live Twice, 1964) and Chew Mee (The Man With A Golden Gun, 1974). Yes they are just 4 of the 75, as of this writing, James Bond girls from over 50 years of the 007 movie series. A Bond girl is a love interest and/or female partner or antagonists of cinema’s most loved secret agent and guessing from the names I cited above, occasionally they, the girls, have names with double meanings, if not outright naughtiness. The name Kissy Suzuki for instance, titillates Filipino males.

In her TV interview aired over Good Morning America last Tuesday, Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach, the 26-year-old actress-beauty queen expressed her desire to the next Bond girl. She said, “Of course, that’s one of my dreams. Hopefully, I’d be able to do that.” Well, the idea, for now, is archive –bound for Alonzo-Wurtzbach has just started her very challenging job as Miss U.

Should this happen, Alonzo-Wurtzbach would be the second Bond girl with Filipino roots. Being the first was Rachel Grant, a half-Filipino and half-English. Grant, starred in “Die Another Day” in 2002 as Peaceful Fountains of Desire, a Chinese agent disguised as a masseuse. It is said that Grant, born September 25, 1977, specializes in Filipino martial art called Arnis under the tutelage of Dan Inosanto, real-life buddy of the late Bruce Lee.

Let us go back to Ms. Alonzo-Wurtzbach, the third Filipina to get the most coveted Miss Universe title, and her dream of becoming a Bond girl. Truly, almost all of the ingredients of a Bond lady is within her: full of glamour, sophistication, dressed in mystery and charm. She already been in 4 movies in the past namely, Kung Ako Na Lang Sana (2003), All My Life (2004) and All About Love (2006) aside from appearing in many TV soap operas, it certainly would not be very hard for her to act.

Philippines’ second Miss U, Margie Moran (now Floriendo), in case you do not know, only appeared in a movie once. Moran’s self-titled film was Oh, Margie Oh (1974), a musical comedy flick directed by Paul Silos with Victor Laurel and Celia Rodriguez as her co-starrers. Well, do I need to say that Gloria Diaz accumulated more or less seventy movies to her credit since she won the 1969 Miss Universe pageant? Most memorable of all is her first film Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (1974) as Isabel (Is this the reason why her child was named Isabelle [Daza]?) and as Matilde in Carlo J. Caparas’ Andres de Saya (1980).

Since the Bond girls are favourite topics of speculation, let us speculate what character Pia would be portraying if in case she appears as Bond girl in the future. Will she have to bed Bond (like the other Bond girl) or strongly act as a sex-appeal oozing side kick or be his brutally beautiful villain like May Day (A View To Kill, 1985)  or Xenia Onatopp (Golden Eye, 1995) with her powerful legs squeezing her preys to death. Any which way would be something to look forward to. 

If Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach would land in a Bond movie in the future, she will be the first Miss Universe to join the elite ranks of Bond girls. Who knows? But meantime, let us anticipate more about her homecoming this January 23. That will be a very great day, I know…


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mar Roxas V. Rody Duerte in a Slapping Galore

Since when slapping is the cavalier’s way to resolve a conflict? Ask Mar Roxas and his rival Digong Duterte that question. From a lowly  street bully as well as to big time warlords, manly conflicts are resolved by action that results pain on both sides. Compared to a gunfight or fistfight, slapping does not really have the potential to inflict damage. Do Mar and Digong really mean to slap each other? Isn’t slapping unmanly? Merely imagining Mar and Digong slapping each other ala Sharon Cuneta and Cherie Gil in Bituing Walang Ningning, would send us to the floor laughing. It’s a political hilarity to the maximum! 

How about male slappers? In early Philippine movies about the Japanese occupation, I’ve seen scenes where Japanese male soldiers slapping Filipino civilians and Japs military officials slapping fellow soldiers under their command. Slapping the face is an ordinary form of discipline, especially among Japanese Army, while among Filipinos it is an insult. To the captive guerrillas, I was told by my grandfather, that it is more honourable to die by bayonet or a bullet than being slapped repeatedly in the face. The “acceptability” and application of slapping can differ from one culture to another.

In the Philippines, slapping is socially unacceptable even in situations confined only to our homes, for instance, when parents seek to punish our children though domestic slapping galore does happen. Slapping, from dominant male Filipino mind sets, no matter how bad it is, is reserved between two married (or in a relation) men and women. Slapping is only acceptable in Philippine culture when young women shield themselves from undesirable sexual advances. Maybe to people like Mayor Digong and Mr. Mar, people belonging to the upper echelon of society, slapping is considered a grave affront to man’s honor and dignity. But to a common man in the slums or the rural area, slapping another man is a little bit “yucky” if not unmanly. To men of achievements like Mar Roxas and Rody Duterte, being slapped is a big shame to the perceived honor and the present fine status they are presently in as distinctive presidential aspirants of this great nation of ours. The slap that gives shame is what they both want to give to each other, if they truly mean what they say. Rody and Mar are adhered to a doctrine called Lex Taliones and that would bring bad example to their most ardent supporters, specially the youth, no doubt.

Duterte and Roxas displayed manhood showing their true colors as human male species. Theirs are pseudo-strong manhood that retaliates against dishonor to return slap for slap. Contrary to what the Great Leader have taught us. He who was born in a lowly manger and later called Prince of Peace...



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Elekserye nina Rody Duterte at Bishop Soc Villegas

Walang mananalo kung magpapatuloy ang patutsadahan nina Bishop Socrates Villegas at presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. Saang anggulo man tingnan, ang pari kailanman ay hindi mananalo sa anumang diskusyon sa isang raskal gamit ang kanyang matatalim na dila. Ang taong raskal din ay hindi mananalo sa mga argumentong naka-tuntong sa etiko at moralidad. Milyong dipa ang layo ng mga karanasan at kaisipang pinaghuhugutan ng kani-kanilang magkaibang opinyon. Ang paghuhubog sa ka-taimtiman ng seminaryo sa paghuhubog sa ka-lumpenan ng lansangan ay magkaiba. Hindi sila magkatapat at malayong-malayo sa maraming bagay.

Kumustahin naman natin ang ating mga sarili bilang  “dakilang miron”. Sa panahong ito sa lipunang Pilipino, sa pagitan ng lider relihiyon at sikat na astig, mas kapani-paniwala sa atin lalo na sa mga netizen, ang huli kaysa sa una. Mas bilib tayo sa taong pranka, walang itinatago kahit na may masamang asal, kaysa doon sa mga nasa loob ang kulo, wika nga. Lalo na kapag pumupustura na sila ay mga moral beacon or guardian kagaya ng mga pari. Malakas ang loob ng mga maka-Duterte kahit banatan ng kanilang idolo ang sa kanila ay mga makabagong Damaso at ang Simbahang Katoliko dahil sapul nang maimbento nga naman ang halalan sa bansa, walang bloc voting mula sa mga Katoliko. Mabuti pa sa INC mayroon. Watak-watak tayo kagaya ng isinumpang kawan ni Zachariah sa pananaw natin sa paraan ng pagpapaunlad ng bayan.

Kagaya ng maraming pulitiko at mamamayang Katoliko sa bansa, dala nga ni Duterte ang kanyang bayag sa bawat pakikihamok ng buhay pero hindi ang mga Turo ng Simbahan sa pribado man o publikong pamumuhay. Sinakyan nito ang pandaigdigang salot na sex scandal ng mga pari at ang pagtatanggi ng Simbahan sa mga elitista at mayayaman, na may punto naman talaga si Digong sa mga isyung ito kaya dakila pa rin ang tingin sa kanya ng kapanalig niyang mga mananampalatayang Katoliko. Kahanga-hanga ang tapang ni Duterte dahil pati ang Simbahang Katolika ay parang grupo lang ng rice smugglers niya kung tuligsain. Bagama’t nagmamano rin naman siya sa mga obispo at pari. Hindi ba isa rin itong ka-ipokritohan kagaya ng kanyang paratang sa kanila?

Ang mga laykong nagtatanggol sa Simbahan ang siyang dapat na manguna sa pagsalag kay Digong at hindi ang mga pari at obispo. Abala ang mga pari at obispo sa parehong pagpapayamang makamundo at kagalingang espiritwal at sa pagtatakip ng kani-kanilang mga kapalpakan kaya huwag na natin silang abalahin. Dapat umagwat na sa eksena si Bishop Villegas dahil lahat ng kanyang mga aksyon at aktuwasyon sa panahong ito ay mababahiran ng political partisanship. Bakit? Una, si Villegas ay kilalang protégée ni Jaime Cardinal Sin na kilalang taga-suporta ni Corazon Aquino, nanay ni Pangulong BS Aquino III. Kung ating matatandaan, hindi ba’t si Bishop Soc din ang nagsabi noon na ang yumaong si Tita Cory ay maihahalintulad sa isang santo? Hindi natin mai-aalis na isipin ng mga taga-suporta ng ibang kandidatong pampanguluhan na ang obispo ay maka-Roxas dahil sa personal na ugnayan nito sa mga Aquino. (Hindi nga ba?)

Huminto man si Duterte sa pagbanat sa mga pari at pagkaladkad sa mga iskandalo ng Simbahan para sa kanyang interes sa pulitika, malamang na pailalim siyang ikakampanyang huwag iboto ng mga kilusang-layko sa bansa lalo na ang tinatawag na mga mandated church organizations. Ihihinto niya ito sa aking palagay sa lalong-madaling panahon. Bagamat ang Batikano sa Roma ay may panawagan sa bawat niyang nasasakupan na maging politically neutral na walang ikakampanya na iboto o huwag ibotong mga kandidato, maaari namang itong gawin sa pribadong pamamaraan. Upang pigilan ang sa anila ay napipintong despotiko, anarkiya at mestisong maka-Kaliwang gobyerno ni Duterte, o anumang paninindigan nito taliwas sa mga turo at doktrina ng Simbahan, gagawan nila ito ng paraan regardless kung pantal lang at hindi bakukang ang maging resulta nito sa balota. Iboto man o hindi si Digong ng mayorya sa milyong naka-poncho na mga pilatong totoong dahilan ng trapik nang dumating sa bansa si Pope Francis noong Enero. Kung hindi lang naging sunod-sunuran ang mga tao sa paanyaya (o pagpilit?) ng Simbahan na dumalo sa Papal Visit, e, di sana ay hindi nagka-trapik at malamang hindi nakapagmura si Digong!

Sa Second Plenary Council (PCP-II) na pinagtibay ng mga pari at layko noong 1992, bagama’t walang clear cut na strategic action kung papaano ito isasakatuparan, hinihimok ang aktibong partisipasyon ng mga mananampalataya sa bawat halalan na makilahok sa mga aksyong pulitikal. Ang pahayag na ito ay malinaw na bukas sa lahat ng pinaka-malayang interpretasyon. Kaya nga, may ilang grupo ng layko na binibigyang kahulugan ang hamon na ito na hanggang sa hayagang pagkampaya pabor o laban sa isang partikular na kandidato sa ngalan ng kanilang organisasyong pansimbahan. Pabor ako dito. Sinasabi na ang Simbahan na binubuo ng mga mananampalataya ay maaring manghimasok sa prosesong elektoral sa mga “extraordinary” situation. Sa pagpapalalim dito sinasabi sa PCP-II na, “This happens when a political option is clearly the only one demanded by the Gospel. An example is when the presidential candidate is clearly bent to destroy the Church and its mission of salvation ...” (Underscoring, mine) Nag-umpisa na marahil ang mga indirect, subtle at subliminal na panawagan na huwag iboto si Digong sa hanay ng kaparian at hayagan naman sa mga layko. Ang tanong, magkaka-igi kaya ito gayong karamihan sa mga pari at obispo ay kampante na lang sa mga kagalingang espiritwal at pangangalap ng pondo sa kanilang kawan at takot sumawsaw sa mga maiinit at kontrobersyal na panlipunang usapin? Mangyayari kaya ito kung marami sa mga pari at obispo ay nahumaling na sa luho na kanilang tinatamasa sa mararangya nilang palasyo’t kumbento sa piling ng kanilang mga bagets at poging sakristan? Pero tiyak ko, sa Enero 2016 matapos ang taunang pulong ng konseho ng CBCP ay magpapalabas ito ng isang Circular Letter na naka-ugat sa Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics na maglalaman ng mga panawagang akin nabanggit. Katulad ng dati, sundin man ito ng mga mananampalataya o hindi, magiging bahagi ng mga pastoral na gawain ng Simbahan partikular sa Lenten program nitong Alay Kapwa na ipatutupad sa lahat ng parokya at ecclesial communities sa bansa.

Sa tingin ko, sa kabila ng lahat ay may malaking tsansa pa rin si Digong na maging pangulo. Ito ay kung hindi siya madadaya o hindi ka naniniwala na panghihimasukan ng CIA ng Amerika at/o ng Ministry on State Security ng Tsina ang ating eleksyon. Kung naniniwala ka na totoong sa mga botante lang talaga nakasalalay ang kapasyahan ng halalan at walang foreign intervention o ng mga institusyon mismo ng gobyerno kagaya ng mga Korte. Pero sakaling manalo siya, sana ang mga boboto sa kanya o ang mga kamag-anak ng kanyang mga taga-suporta specially those all out to defend him ay huwag bigla na lang bumulagta sa kalye, matapos likidahin ng mga death squad ng Palasyo mula lamang sa paratang na hindi dumaan sa hukuman o due process.  Na ang extra judicial execution ay katanggap-tanggap sa ngalan ng paglutas ng karumal-dumal na krimen, kahit na kamag-anak natin mismo ang salarin. Gagawin tiyak niya ‘yan. Kahit si Digong ay patuloy na hindi maging sensitibo sa kalagayan ng mga kababaihan at ipagpapatuloy niyang ipagmamalaki na siya ay maraming kabit at magiging lucrative business ang funeral services sa kanyang administrasyon. Kambal na isyu na pinuntirya nina Gabriela party list representative Emmie De Jesus at Bishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz kamakailan. Kapag nangyari ito, kailangang maging handa ang mga tinatawag ng mga kampon ng kanyang mga karibal na “Dutertards” at patuloy na suportahan ang kanilang inihalal at huwag nila itong iwanan sa ere kahit sila ay tuligsain ng oposisyon, mga human rights advocate sa hanay ng civil society sa bansa at sa buong daigdig. Kabilang ang Simbahang Katoliko kahit na hindi ito talimain ng mga mismong miyembro nito.

Uulitin ko, hindi na dapat patulan ninumang pari o obispo si Duterte maliban na lang kung ibig nilang bumaba sa kanyang lebel. Walang pangulo at walang obispo na makakaahon sa atin sa ating kinasasadlakan ngayon. Marami ng pangulo at obispo ang nabuhay at namatay, nagkasala at napatawad, pero ganito pa rin tayo. Dahil sa tanging sa pagsasa-Diyos at/o eleksyon lamang sumasalig ang marami sa atin. Pagkatapos ng panahon ng halalan, bumabalik lamang ang maraming botante sa pagiging “dakilang miron”. Kung gusto na rin lang natin na hindi sumunod sa batas kagaya ng mga ginawa (at ipinagmamalaki pa) ni Digong sa mga pinaghihinalaang kriminal sa Davao, sakaling siya ay matalo, bakit hindi natin subukan ang armed militancy o resistance na kanyang pangungunahan para kunin ang political power imbes na umasa tayo sa wala sa halalan? Joke. Seriously, dapat ay hindi double standard of justice ang kanyang ipatutupad.

Ang kuwento nina Mayor Duterte at Bishop Soc ay patikim pa lang sa marami pang uusbong na elekseryeng papatulan ng intrigue and rating-driven at AC-DC media na impluwensiyado din ng mga mamayamang negosyante at pulitiko na daluyan ng ating kantiyaw, pangagalaiti, katatawanan at iba pang mga kabalbalan hatid ng halalan. Mga kababawang tanda ng ating patuloy na pagiging politically immature…

(Photo: Googleflick)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bruce Lee, Philippine Version

As the whole world on Friday, November 27, 2015, honours the 75th birthday of the “original” Bruce Lee, let me remind you of his Philippine version: Ramon Zamora. During my days as a child, I was exposed to the so-called Bruceploitation films specifically from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan mostly shown at Golden Gate Theatre along Gen. Dunckel St. in my hometown San Jose, Mindoro. The term Bruceploitation refers to run-through of putting Bruce Lee look-alike actors or martial artists to play in many low-budgeted flicks to bank on Lee’s feat after his death in July 20, 1973. Asian film producers paraded with actors who looked like Bruce altering their screen names to sound similar or analogous to “Bruce Lee” such as Bruce Li (real name: Ho Chung Tao), and Bruce Le (A.K.A Wong Kin Lung) to mention just two. Bruce Lee bio-flicks free-flows like the Tubaon Creek of my childhood years.

Any avid follower of this genre knows that Jackie Chan twitched his career in the silver screen as an extra and stuntman in some of Lee’s movies, was projected as the successor of Bruce Lee through “New Fist of Fury” shown in 1976 and directed by Lo Wei, the same director who lensed Lee’s earlier film “Fist of Fury”. It was only when Chan made comically-themed movies for another film company he became a box-office material in Asia until he reached Hollywood via “Battle Creek Brawl”. Bruce Lee, in case you Gen-Xers do not know, is the most famous martial artist of all time and founder of Jet Kune Do and to whom the dawning of MMA is attributed to.

Ramon Zamora was once Bruce Lee of the Philippines and thanks to YouTube and Freemake Video Downloader, after 40 years or so, I was able to watch again the best Ramon Zamora flick belonging to this subgenre I want to share with you today. There are arrays of Ramon Zamora’s Bruceploitation films like “They Call Me ChopSuey” but my favourite is Celso Ad Castillo’s “Return of the Dragon (1977)”. For me, it’s the all-time best full-Pinoy martial art film.

The movie, like many of Bruce Lee’s early flicks under Golden Harvest, is about revenge. Failon (Ramon Zamora) execrates vengeance for the death of his wife Amihan (Lotis Key) who was gang-raped and her whole tribe massacred by a band of armed thugs and Failon wiped them out all in the end. Critic Noel Vera did aworth-reading review of the film which appeared at Business World in November 27, 2014, coincidentally fell on Bruce Lee’s 74th birthday.

Ramon Zamora and Bruce Lee were both dancers before they appeared in martial art movies. Ramon Zamora is not only action star but once a comedian though Bruce Lee also has terrific sense of humor as I have discovered from reading John Little’s “Bruce Lee: Letters of the Dragon: Correspondence, 1958-1973”. Ramon Zamora, who died in August 26, 2007, is best remembered in a satiric TV comedy show called “Super Laff-In” which ran from 1969 to 1972 when Bruce Lee is still unknown in the Philippines. While Bruce Lee died at the prime of his age and career at 32, Ramon Zamora died while his career already faded and he was 72 years of age thus making the latter lived exactly 40 years longer than the former.

By the way, a director named George Nolfi is now filming "The Birth of the Dragon" and it is expected to be released next year. Bruce Lee, the immortal pop icon, really transcends from one continent to another, from one generation to another... 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Can Francisco do a Buster?

An upset, especially if it’s via KO, is one of the great splendour of the sweet science. There is nothing as theatrical, exiting and as dramatic as an upset in boxing or in any other sport. When the San Jose-born, Sablayan-raised boxer Drian “Gintong Kamao” Francisco (28-3-1) slug it out against Guillermo “El Chacal “ Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KO’s) this Sunday (Saturday in the US), November 22, 2015, in the undercard for the Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez mega fight in Las Vegas. Francisco, despite of short notice, is surely going toe-to-toe with the heavy favourite and very impressive Cuban defector-pugilist. He had been training hard for a fight against compatriot Danilo Pena here in the Philippines when he was officially invited to the Rigondeaux match-up, so he immediately packed his things and flew to the US. Francisco is unfazed and confident of winning. This is indeed, our man’s dream fight. In 2012, Francisco had a chance to face Rigondeaux but something went wrong along the way. The notice came shortly after Drian's birthday last November 10.

Francisco, former WBA interim junior bantamweight champion, in an interview with Ring TV said, “All boxers, their greatest goal is to have a fight for a world championship. So I'm not going to let this pass me by. I'm going to do everything I can to win. I have been thinking about it for a long time on how I'm going to beat him.”  Despite Drian’s usual pre-fight calmness and oozing confidence atop the ring, it would take a miracle, if not divine intervention, to win against the two-time Olympian Rigondeaux who defeated Nonito Donaire, Jr. in 2013. By mere mentioning how Rigondeaux skilfully, though boringly, overpowered and out-boxed Donaire, Francisco needs a miracle of sort to blemish the Cuban’s flawless record. To add, Rigondeaux, former super bantamweight champion, is considered by many boxing gurus as one of the best boxers in the world. Records has it that only last May, Francisco suffered humiliating a 1st round KO against Jason Canoy, a Cebu-based puncher, in General Santos City. But before that, in his US tour in July 2013, Drian encountered a sorry loss against American Chris Avalos via 10-round unanimous decision in a game held at Dallas Events Center at Texas Station in Las Vegas. In his fight against Canoy, Joe Francisco, Drian's father and a former boxer himself, told this lowly blogger that our champ was suffering from severe flu during the fight. 

But in the world of sports, each time a giant killer is born. Just last week in MMA, the heavy favourite Ronda Rousey was beaten by lesser known Holly Holm at UFC 193 with the perfect and powerful second round knockout kick to the face. This is a stark example that big upsets really do happen. Since the time of David and Goliath, human history is supplied with occurrences symbolizing David’s triumph and they are too many to mention.

Mike Tyson (37-0, 33 Kos) was also the man of the hour, the apparently invincible iron man, when he faced James “Buster” Douglas (29-4-1) at Tokyo Dome in Japan on February 11, 1990. Tyson was unbeaten that time and he was at his prime 23 years of age. Tyson was the overwhelming 42-1 favorite over Douglas. Douglas, who rose from the canvas in the 8th round after enduring one of Tyson’s powerful signature uppercuts, completely seized control late and pounded Tyson’s left eye shut. Douglas landed a beastly five-punch combo that floored the beaten Tyson in the 10th frame at 1:23 of that decisive round. Douglas was later awarded the IBF, WBA and WBC heavyweight championships. Douglas, 29-years old then, destroyed Tyson leaving him shocked and stunned and gave face to the greatest upset in sports’ history.

Indeed, in boxing, even the unthinkable is understood. But either way, there are two things certain: First, there is no turning back for Drian against Rigo and our man will surely exchange punches with his opponent and let us support Drian in our own little ways. Second, Drian is the present generation’s boxing pride of Occidental Mindoro whom the Municipality of Sablayan vested an achievement award in sports some years back.

Can Francisco do a Buster Douglas? Who knows….


(Photo: Yibada)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bethune in the Context of Occidental Mindoro

Today, November 12, 2015, is the 76th death anniversary of Dr. Norman Bethune who made an immortal contribution as a doctor in the Chinese revolutionary war against the Japanese and made innovations on forms of medical practice and surgery. All Chinese know of Norman Bethune and they love to tell everyone about the how the Canadian doctor cured the wounded Chinese in their war against Japan until the day he died of blood poisoning from an infection contracted after cutting himself during surgery. Mao Zedong, in his Little Red Book, though he and Bethune only talked once, wrote a tribute about him that every child had to memorize during the Cultural Revolution and Chinese schoolchildren today continue to learn about him. My mother used to work as helper in a store of a Chinaman before she got married and gave birth to his first born (who happened to be me).

I will not very much dwell here about Bethune’s (or Mao’s) ideological or political ideas or anything that concerns Communism, but about the field of medicine in the Philippine social context especially with the glaring medical quackery and anti- scholastic tendencies among our people. In a third world country such as ours, many private hospitals as well as private doctors charge excessive fees only the elite wealthy classes could afford.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos work abroad as health workers, the province of Occidental Mindoro agonises from lack of such professionals compared with the total population of each municipality. In the study titled “Health Status of the Residents in Occidental Mindoro, Philippines: A Way to Make a Healthy Community”, (2014; Rosa Mistica C. Ignacio, et. al) concluded, “Health programs do not guarantee a healthy individual and a healthy society, but a combination of health programs and socioeconomic support can help in creating a healthy community.” But to zero in to emergency care, sans the benefit of reliable statistics, many of the poorest of the poor including the Mangyans die each year due to emergency care they cannot pay. There goes the lack of socioeconomic support from the government.

What Occidental Mindoro needs most, aside from sufficient complete surgical facilities and professionals, is adequate number of ambulatory surgical clinics (ACS) that could provide day surgeries and ambulatory procedures. Though emergency care is emphasized in RA 8344 in 1997 and it penalizes hospitals and medical clinics for refusing to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency or serious case. It mandates that all emergency patients be stabilized by giving needed treatment and support without deposit or advance payment. But it is not stipulated in the law how it will be financed. Some greedy private hospital owners, with such legal flaw, designed and effect internal policies and other schemes, denying the patients or making it very hard for them to access emergency health care.

Still, we hardly find specialists and surgeons in Occidental Mindoro serving even in our first class municipalities. Medicines are scarcely provided to the sick and market forces tightening their grip over medical institutions. The people suffer when they cannot have complete reasonable access specifically with regards to emergency care. All we could do is agonize each day when someone we know dies in our hospitals due to unaffordable emergency health care services. We are like living in the battlefront depicted in the 1990 movie “Bethune: The Making of a Hero”, a Donald Sutherland starrer directed by Phillip Borsos.   

Bethune, at against the backdrop of medical disciplines and work ethics states: “Medicine, as we are practicing it, is a luxury trade. We are selling bread at the price of jewels. ... Let us take the profit, the private economic profit, out of medicine, and purify our profession of rapacious individualism ... Let us say to the people not ‘How much have you got?’ but ‘How best can we serve you?’” These words still ring true to this every day after more than 76 years ago when our man, my namesake, uttered these….


(Photo: The Province . Com)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Occidental Mindoro 65th Founding Anniversary Should Be Inclusive Celebration

The week long celebration of the 65th Founding Anniversary of Occidental Mindoro that will start next week cannot be an exclusive affair for certain political group. This ought to be an inclusive celebration that advances equitable share of all participants, regardless of political color and coming from every sector of society. The contribution of all, regardless of political affiliation should be acclaimed especially the candidates or recipients of the Occidental Mindoro Achiever Awards, a first-ever event in the celebration recognizing their contributions in society. The people who truly put Occidental Mindoro to the map need recognition more than being entertained by showbiz personalities and celebrities from Manila and other palliative ego-boosting, carnival-like happenings.

Through Republic Act No. 505, the province of Mindoro was divided into two provinces, to be known as Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro on November 15, 1950 through a bill sponsored by Mindoro province’s Cong. Raul Leuterio approved June 13, of the same year. Damaso Abeleda was appointed governor from November 15, 1950 to December 31, 1951. But our first elected governor was Federico Castillo (1952-1955), also an ally of the Abeledas, while Jesus T. Abeleda (1951-1953) became the first congressman of Occidental Mindoro.

Cong. Raul Leuterio (1951-1953), a Liberal Party (LP) bigwig in Mindoro in late 40's whom close to President Manuel Roxas, grandfather of now LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas, started it all but not without political agenda. Aside from administrative and technical justifications, there are partisan political underpinnings in such legislation. During that time, with the scarcity of road and bridges and transportation facilities, it was hell-like to go campaign around the 7th largest island of the Philippines with its islands and islets. On the other hand, administering the whole island proved to be difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Due to scarcity of mechanized transportation way back then, just imagine how our dear forebears dared woods and waves going to municipalities and barrios. The division took firm grasp of this reality.

Regarding Leuterio’s bill aimed at dividing the island into two provinces, Volker Schult in p. 116 of his book “Mindoro (A Social History of a Philippine Island in the 20th Century)” published by the Divine Word Publications 1991, “He (Leuterio) paid back the political loyalty the Abeledas had been giving him since the pre-war period. Leuterio supported the Abeledas to gain political domination in the province of Occidental Mindoro.” Truth to tell, debt of gratitude in politics is part of our province infantile period in history not unlike today. Those days of political exclusivity, where the elite political partisans take the center stage and the non-aligned masses or voters are left behind. God gave us more than 6 1/2 decades to correct those but they are haunting us still to this very day.

I heard that Mar Roxas, the LP standard bearer, will be coming over to grace the occasion and I have to qualms about that unless they make this historic event, in whole or in part, a partisan political one. The 65th Founding Anniversary should not be used as venue for political endorsements or any activity related to May 2016, though election time is already in the air. Please apportion another time and venue for that. No hand shall be raised as if it were a political rally, campaign or sortie. Hope they will not repeat the way President BS Aquino III served as witness to their party oath taking and consequently endorsed them during this very celebration last 2012, coincided with our province’s 62nd Founding Anniversary. Let us hope against hope that THIS would not happen again.

If that will be repeated, then, again, the event in a way becomes an exclusive celebration. If we cannot be inclusive in celebration, how could we aim for a development paradigm called inclusive growth? ….


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mar Roxas and Tsinelas

Last Monday, Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo formally accepted the Liberal Party’s offer to be running mate of Mar Roxas. The widow of the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo declared, ''Ibinibigay ko po ang aking sarili ng buong-buo sa ating mga kababayan, lalung-lalo na sa inyong mga naka-tsinelas na nasa labas, nasa ibaba, at laylayan ng lipunan."  All of us are familiar with the story of Jose Rizal about his slipper that slipped down to the river. During Rizal’s time, only well-to-do families wear slippers. Children mostly are barefooted. Not anymore. Tsinelas or slippers, is the present-day symbol of the Filipino masses, whether coming from the urban or rural areas. Only Filipinos, say some basketball enthusiasts, wear slippers when they play basketball. The Tsinelas during our time is a tool for disciplining children, a symbol of parental guidance. It’s no longer the bakya (wooden clogs) but the rubber tsinelas that gradually gaining prominence as sort of a national symbol.

Our first personal encounter with Leni Robredo was when she was invited by my principal, Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano, to grace and be the keynote speaker at the culmination night of the 114th anniversary celebration of the Civil Service Month last year. Robredo also visited two newly-constructed school buildings in Ligaya and a Mangyan School in San Agustin which were named after her late husband. In her Facebook page then Robredo posted, “[I am] very much impressed with what I witnessed in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro when I visited. Local government has been investing a lot of money in education, building many school buildings to complement Dep-Ed and provide for the classroom needs of the municipality..” No prominent local political personalities wearing yellow polo-shirt were around that day. She embraced the Mangyan leaders and she talks with direct simplicity and full sincerity. And that became my first taste of Robredo’s brand of tsinelas political leadership. Non-trapo, no pretensions and what you see is what you get. No stunts, no antics whatsoever. Of all the prospective candidates for 2016 from the presidentiables down to the senatoriables, Leni Robredo has the finest character of them all. Character is important in choosing a candidate. Our character is much more than just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. Character is about honesty and honesty must remain as the best policy even in politics. 

Yesterday, I posted at Facebook this status: “Ang dalawang pinakamalapit na babae ngayon kay Mar Roxas, parehong may konek sa tsinelas.” Of course, I am referring to Leni Robredo, his running mate, and his wife Korina Sanchez. The latter, a broadcast journalist by profession, has an advocacy aimed at changing the lives of Filipino children by giving them slippers at a time. According to Korina then, “ It is our dream that every child in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will be empowered with a decent pair of slippers which they can use every day as they attend school and play with each other.”  Korina Sanchez-Roxas hosts the top-rating News Magazine Sunday show Rated K which is aired every Sunday night over ABS-CBN Channel 2. For Leni, tsinelas is a symbol of her campaign platform while for Korina, it might be plain and simple charity. Wearing slippers connotes being alive and active. In fact, one of our superstitions has it that before a dead person is laid to rest his/her slippers (or shoes) must be removed and placed beside her/his legs to be accepted to Heaven.

Going back to Roxas and Robredo, Prof. Ramon Casiple, Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), said that, “Robredo has a good chance of winning the vice presidential contest but her magic will not rub off on Roxas.” What will happen if one of the tsinelas fellows, I mean in the Ro-Ro (Roxas-Robredo) tandem, is dumped by the electorates? I suddenly remember what a Hanunuo Mangyan elder told me many years ago, “Kahit sa tsinelas na saliwa, makararating din tayo sa ninanasa."  Indeed, we can still walk through the straight path even with different pair of tsinelas….


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eunice’s Poetry Book for Sale On-line

My cousin, Eunice Barbara C. Novio, is about to launch a poetry book called Maps of Dreams and Memories. But before that, let me first lead you to a poem of Robert Frost (1874-1963). Sometime in 1923, the renowned American poet and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner wrote Dust of Snow. It was published sometime in 1923 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of poetry called New Hampshire:

Dust of Snow
By: Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Decades later, Bob McKenty, a poet born in 1935 and noted for his mastery of light verse, wrote a parody of said Frost’s masterpiece.  Parody is a humorous satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature such as poem. Here is McKenty’s parody of Frost’s “Dust of Snow”:

Snow on Frost
By: Bob McKenty

A wayward crow
Shook down on him
The dust of snow
From a hemlock limb.

Amused (I recall)
The poet stopped,
Delighted that's all
The black bird dropped.

But sometimes, a poem is written to show full respect by way of imitating another poet’s poem. This is called poetry imitation. The following poem appeared in Atomic Poetry in August 2015 written by my poetess cousin sometime last month:

My Friend, the Shadow
By: Eunice Barbara C. Novio

I have a friend, Mother,
sometimes he sleeps with me,
but oftentimes stays under the bed
even when you sweep underneath
he lays there;
a sleeping shadow.

He has white eyes
and always smiles,
but he makes me happy
because he does not talk or argue.

We just lie down together at night,
dreaming of what lies ahead of us,
when I grow up and how long
he would be a shadow.

A poet by doing response poetry respects the poet s/he imitates because to write it, one must understand and appreciate the piece s/he imitates so, here’s my piece:

Her Friend, the Shadow
By Norman A. Novio

She had a friend, she told her mother,
A strange bedfellow sleeping under her bed,              
And ever-smiling and white-eyed shadow.

A friend who knew by experience
Her loneliness during sleepless nights
Entering into her own story of life.

But without nocturnal sorrows and pain,
She couldn’t accomplish life’s most lovely things:
Write a book, give birth to a child or make a friend.

Between them grew an amazing exchange
Knitting poems together for years,
As the girl grew up her shadow-friend remains!

The poetry book was published just weeks ago by Aquill Relle, an on-line magazine. I am inviting the followers of this blog site to order it on-line and click THIS to start.

Grab a copy now, so I can have my porsyento



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Full of Grace?

It is now official. Senator Grace Poe who appeared in minor roles as child actress in his father’s two movies, “Durugin si Totoy Bato” and Dugo ng Bayan” finally declared yesterday, September 16, at the Bahay ng Alumni at the University of the Philippines Diliman her intention to run for the presidency. It is in the same venue where Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ, the undisputed King of Philippine Movies, also declared his political plans in 2003.

As I have told you before, majority of the people of Occidental Mindoro gave big numbers to FPJ gaining 78,688 votes over his latter-days nemesis in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who only reaped 34,267 votes compared to Susan Roces’ husband. The question if our votes for FPJ could also be “inherited” by Grace Poe remains a question. Our local Liberal Party members (Read: the Tropang Marangal) should work overtime to let the results of the 2016 elections in the province be “full of Mar” instead of “full of Grace” or whoever.

Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola himself that is a living proof that empathy - sympathy vote is a big factor in Occidental Mindoro elections when fresh from University of California, he won as congressman in our province’s lone district in 1987 after his politician father, the late Assemblyman Pedro T. Mendiola who served from 1978-1986 and was gunned down while he was delivering his speech at the plaza of San Vicente, Sablayan in April, 1986,- just few months away from election season. Not unlike Senator Grace, he promised then to continue what his father had started.

While Senator Grace Poe’s father died with a "broken-heart" because of the alleged election anomalies which victimized our screen idol-turned-politician and ultimately his victory was snatched from him, Governor Gene’s father died with his brave heart intact.

Deep empathy and sympathy runs unfathomable in the Filipino heart and this is what Grace Poe is capitalizing on. She anchored everything in the memory of her father to get elected. But Senator Poe admitted that her biggest capital is the name of her father. In fact, before her announcement yesterday at UP, there was a showing of emotionally-charged clips of Da King’s movies before she went upstage.

And let us not forget that BS Aquino III himself is a product of empathy-sympathy vote when he announced his candidacy after his mother died of cancer. Let us see if Grace would also get the big numbers that Occidental Mindoro voters gave to his father more than a decade ago.

The realm of empathy-sympathy in politics is indeed so mysterious, at least to me…


(Photo: Philstar)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Of Public Interest Lawyers and the Philippine Mining Conference 2015

We, the anti-mining advocates all over the country today, September 15, 2015, are officially launching what we call “Mining Hell Week” as symbolic protest against the Philippine Mining Conference 2015 which is also starting today spearheaded by the Philippine Chamber of Mines. And to show my sentiment against that Congress, I am telling the world that as long as we have ladies like those I will mentioning later, we are ready to give the mining companies one hell of a legal fight.

Environmental lawyers in the Philippines are rare species and as fragile as the ecosystems and the poor and marginalized people they are protecting. Generally categorized as public interest legal practitioners, instead of serving powerful economic interests, they practice law and stand in behalf of the country’s natural resources. I had a chance listening to their lectures last August 26-28, 2015 at Submarine Garden Beach Resort 1 in Brgy. Sawang, Lobo, Batangas while attending the MIMAROPA Paralegal Training sponsored by Alyansa Tigil Mina or ATM.

Atty. Grizelda “Gerthie” Mayo-Anda is the Executive Director of the Palawan-based Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), an alumnus and professor at UP College of Law. ELAC is an environmental non-government organization committed to helping communities uphold their constitutional right to a healthful and balanced ecology. In elaborating theories of environmental justice, Atty. Gerthie told the training participants from all over MiMaRoPa provinces including Masbate, that environmental justice brings together environmental protection and social justice and this is grounded in Article 2, Section 16 of our constitution where the right to sound environment and as a national policy, to promote sustainable development, with land use and carrying capacity as important concepts, are guaranteed.

Aside from other cases Atty. Gethie are handling all over the land, she is also into challenging the operation of Rio Tuba Mining in Bataraza and Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation in Narra despite that the areas are core zones or restricted zones under RA 7611. Atty. Gerthie believes that the local government officials should be more concerned about protecting the last remaining natural resources and the people than the interests of private investors.

On the other hand, Atty. Mary Grace Ellen “Grace” S. Villanueva dwelt on the topics “Measures and Procedures in Building Up Environmental Cases” and “Citizen’s Remedies in Violations of Mining-relevant Environmental Laws”. Atty. Grace has been working as a lawyer for indigenous peoples, upland rural poor and farming communities and their members, and representing them at judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals so they could defend their rights to life, land and natural resources.  At present, she is the legal coordinator for Legal Resource Center or LRC.

The conference dubbed “Mining Philippines” is a 3-day event starting today until September 17, 2015 at the Solaire Resort and Casino Manila in Manila. This event showcases mining products in Minerals, Metals and Ores industry.

And to counter this event, I “showcased” two brave and dedicated ladies from the ranks of the earth protectors. I paraded people while the mining companies paraded products. It only goes to show that for the environmentally-destructive firms, the latter is more important than the former...



Monday, August 24, 2015

Norma N. Malilay: Teacher-Learner

This respectable woman is getting old now but has touched thousands of lives in her various capacities prominently in the academia, civic and religious organizations. Her parents are Filomeno, the champion speller of his elementary days, and Maria, once a Princess during a Peace Time fiesta.  Born in 1942 right at the heart of Barrio Central, as a child she survived the hardships and ravages of war but later consistently topped her class way down from elementary up to college when the war is over. She struggled to finish her studies selling vegetables, Liwayway and komiks in their barrio and doing errands and household chores for her principal’s family. In case you are not aware of, she was one of the pioneering graduates of the Divine Word College of San Jose and became one of the two first graduates of the school’s College of Education way back in 1964. I was barely two years old then.

While I flunked or received pasang awa grades in my other subjects as a college student, I got the highest grades in my transcript in two subjects under her despite of the fact that she was considered by many as strict instructor. She was my teacher in Rizal and Early Philippine Literature (English 7) way back in ‘79. Though greatly influenced by the writings of historian Renato Constantino, I am more of an admirer of Bonifacio than Rizal and I cannot recall any single detail about Biag ni Lam-Ang, her teaching method specifically her adding of local color and contextualization of the topics in contemporary setting made me so interested in her class than my Math and Science subjects. How she motivates her students is exemplary and genuine. Ma’am Malilay knows what’s an effective motivation is and why it is effective.  Her way of soliciting feedbacks and critics from her students became my first break in expressing my views and opinions on certain socio-political realities which I carried till my short stint as a former broadcast practitioner and today as a trying hard chronicler who modestly notices anything about Mindoro.

Norma Malilay (nee Necia) was great in stimulating curiosity by asking thought-provoking questions. Truth to tell, if a teacher utilizes new or different information from that which students already know, true learning develops. She satisfied our curiosity in the most interesting way and consequently filled the gap between a given and a desired state of knowledge. This is one of the indelible marks of a great mentor his or her students would cherish forever. Ma’am Malilay, aside from being a college instructor, was at the same time the director of Divine’s student affairs office. Many of her students became successful politicians, businessmen, public servants, priests, expatriates, just name it. She transferred to Occidental Mindoro State College, my Alma Mater, in the early 90s and became the Chief Administrative Officer IV until her retirement. She became my son’s part time English instructor in the now padlocked Saint Joseph College Seminary. She molded him to be lover of words and explorer of the beauty of the language. She was active in many mandated religious organizations and one of the Vicariate’s finest lectors. To those who are not Catholics, the term “lector” or “reader” is someone who in a particular liturgy is assigned to read Biblical text other that the Gospel. Even in her religious functions and apostolic works she is beyond compare. That’s why perhaps God is so good to her.

Care to scrutinize the photo shown above for a while. For me, its best caption is this: “To breath is to learn”. May we, your former students, value learning the same way you do even in foreign soil, regardless of our age…

 (Photo; Grabbed without permission from Ma’am Norms’ Facebook wall)

Friday, August 14, 2015


The National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples or NCIP conducts a forum on Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro last August 5-7, 2015. The event is aimed at updating on the status of CADT applications of the 7 sub-tribes of the Mangyans in the whole island of Mindoro, to clarify the the processes being undertaken by the NCIP, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to speed up the issuance of pertinent documents and certifications for the registration and eventual awarding of their CADTs. The event held Juan G. Santos Memorial Gymnasium was sponsored by the Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro.

NCIP Commissioner Dionesia O. Banua and Ruben S. Bastero, CESO III, director for Region IV serve as the forum’s main reactors. Focusing on the Joint DAR-DENR-LRA-NCIPAdministrative Order No. 1, Series of 2012, it was attended by hundreds of Mangyan leaders and tribal elders including those coming from Oriental Mindoro who are saluted by Mayor Romulo M. Festin and SP Member Roderick Q. Agas representing both Gov. Mario Gene J. Mendiola and Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato. Mario Mulingbayan, the province's Mangyan affairs officer oversee the logistical needs for the event.

The forum highlighted the presentation of the Revised Omnibus Rules on Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains and Lands of 2012 presented by Engr. Sandy P. Padilla, Engineer IV of NCIP IV. It was followed by status of CADT in whole Occidental Mindoro by Noe Raul A. Zoleta. There was also presentation of IP Issues and Concerns coming from the 7 Mangyan leaders from all over the island.

On her opening message, Commissioner Banua, gave special recognition, among others, to the exemplary support of Sablayan LGU under Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano especially in terms in the realization of the IPMR or the IP Mandatory Representation to the local municipal legislative board which was first in the whole island. She challenged all the attending LGUs to do the same. RD Bastero said that since there are glaring differences in the mandates of concerned government agencies like DENR, DAR, LRA and of course NCIP, towards the tittling of the ancestral lands, there is a dire need to discuss major policies regarding such requirements and processes. Indeed, there are jurisdictional and operational issues between and among said agencies that was clarified by the Joint Administrative Order or JAO. The JAO is truly a welcome development for the Mangyans and their mission partners.

The activity also serves as venue for the airing of grievances of the Mangyan leaders and elders concerning the government projects, like the National Greening Program, the PLAs, CBFM, and the likes. Speakers from different agencies made suggestions and promised actions on the matter with the cooperation of the IPs themselves.

During the Responses and Commitment part of the Forum, this lowly blogger  discussed what the LGU is presently doing for the Taobuid and Alangan of Sablayan. Specifically on the local government’s mission of empowering them by taking part in the development and in governance, a room in the mainstream government respecting their culture and rights. Majority of the Municipal LGUs with considerable number of Mangyan population were in attendance.

In their concluding talks, both Banua and Bastero lauded the Municipality of Sablayan for having the establishment of Tribal Barangays in our CADEV-ELA and our advocacy for the Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representation or IPMR which are under the mandate of NCIP. All of the barangays of Sablayan now have their respective IC/ICC representatives through the IPMR.

Day Two dwells with the formulation/validation of IPMR Guidelines for the IP representation at the Provincial Level and the undersigned only served as observers. The forum was facilitated by Mr. Noe Raul A. Zoleta, the NCIP OIC Provincial Officer along with his staffs coming from its offices in Mamburao, San Jose and Sablayan headed by Sablayan Field Officer Mr. Reynaldo F. Tupas, CDO-III and Ms. Ann Stephanie T. Tapales, CAO I at San Jose Field Office, as the gathering's emcee.

We all gathered in San Jose that day looking for a bright future where the Mangyans, Mindoro’s indigenous people maintain control over their ancestral lands and territories. As proximate stewards of our upland ecosystems, their rights must be respected as stipulated in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act or IPRA law also known as RA 8371.

So, CADT Now!...

(Photo grabbed without permission from Steph T. Tapales’ FB wall)