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... 

(Photo: 8list.ph)

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? ….

(Photo: pcco.gov.ph)

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….

(Photo; Inquirer.net)

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


(Photo: aquarelle.com)

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...


(Photo: behance.net)

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)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mga Unang Hakbang sa Pag-iwas Maging Bobotante

Ang unang paraan nang pag-iwas maging bobotante ay ang pagbasa ng buo sa lathalaing ito. Biro lang.

Ang mga opinionated netizen ngayon at maging mga magkukolum na nasa mainstream media, kasama ang mga pambansa at lokal na pulitiko ay abala na pagtatampok sa mga ayaw at gusto nilang maging pangulo, na s’yempre  kanya-kanya sila ng katwiran at punto,- saliwa o tama, epal at gimik, palso at tumpak. Kapag may natisod na link na pabor o paninira sa isang posibleng presidentiable na gusto o ayaw nila, agad nila itong pinu-post. Sa sobra yatang excitement, nakalimutan natin na matagal pa ang ating lalakbayin at may mga bagay tayong dapat unahin upang tayo ay hindi maging bobotante.

Sampung buwan pa bago ang halalan at marami pang mangyayari sa usapin ng mga personalidad na lalahok kaya hindi pa ito panahon ng pilian. At imbes na pag-usapan kung sino, ang dapat na pagtuunan ngayon ay kung ano. Bakit ganito ka-excited ang marami sa atin sa higit na pagtutuon sa personahe/personalidad imbes na sa kaganapan?  Malinaw na sa kaisipang bobotante kasi, ang eleksyon ay isang kontes lamang na ang mas mahalaga ay ang resulta at hindi ang proseso. Isang bagay na hindi seryoso at laro lang sa kanila ang halalan. Masusuri natin ang sagot sa tanong na ito kung mauunawaan natin kung nasaang yugto na tayo ngayon sa mahabang proseso ng daan patungong Malakanyang, figuratively speaking, at isuhay dito ang mga kaisipang taglay ng mga ayaw maging bobotante. Mangyayari lamang ito kung gagawin nating tabula rasa pansamantala ang ating isip sa ating mga naunang biases sa mga napupusuan o mga kinamumuhian nating kakandidato.

Sa panahong ito hanggang sa opisyal na pagbubukas ng pagtanggap ng aplikasyon ng mga kakandidato ay dadaan sa ganitong proseso: Pagbubuklod-buklod at pagpapatatag ng mga partidong pulitikal at koalisyon, opisyal na pag-eendorso, proklamasyon ng kandidatura sa pamamagitan ng sunod-sunod na mga pulong at kumbesyon at iba pa. Sinisimulan nila at/o ipinagpapatuloy ang pamamasyal-masyal nang malimit sa mga malalayong bayan at lalawigan kasabay ng constant media projection na ang layon ay magpa-lobo ng suporta mula sa mga lugar at panig upang matiyak na gaganda ang kanilang mga numero sa mga survey. Kapag medyo plantsado na ang hanay at maganda-ganda ang resulta ng survey, ito ang hahatak sa mga mayayamang negosyante at king maker at patuloy na maghahanap ng potential funder para gasolinahan ang kanilang mga makinarya. Ang bunga ng mga ito ang salalayan ng kanilang pag-urong o pagsulong sa laban.

Bago sumapit ang buwan ng Oktubre onwards, dapat ay may nabuo nang lihim na usapan at kasunduan o compromises kapalit ng suportang kanilang ibibigay. Halimbawa, proteksyon sa negosyo, puwesto sa gabinete, at sa iba’t-ibang opisina ng pamahalaang pambansa, for instance, kapag ito ay nanalong pangulo.

Sa larangan ng halalan, hindi lamang pagboto at pagsuporta sa kandidato ang dapat gawin ng mga botante para hindi maging bobotante. Higit pa rito. Ang matalinong botante ay dapat magsuri ayon at sabay sa antasin at yugto ng panahon ng halalan. Pero papaano tayo magsusuri sa maagang yugtong ito ng eleksyon? Uulitin ko, higit sa pagpapahayag kung sino at bakit ang ating iboboto, mas higit na mahalaga ang ano. Ano ang katangian ng mga taong dumidikit-dikit ngayon sa kandidato? Ano sa palagay nating ang adyenda ng mga ito? Ano ang kanilang political record? Anong dahilan ng kanilang pagiging malapit sa isa’t-isa? Ano ang pagkaka-iba-iba at pagkakapareho ng kanilang mga prinsipyo o idolohiya at pagkatao? Ano ang mga nagawa sa bayan ng mga supporter na pabuntot-buntot sa kanila?  Ano ang mga pananaw nila sa mga maiinit ng isyung bayan? Ang mga sagot sa tanong na iyan ay pipiliin at titimbangin natin. Ang mga positibo at negatibo at sa kalaunan, mas mabibigyan natin ng timbang ang ating magiging pagpili sa pamamagitan ng mga taong nakapaligid o sumusuporta sa kanila at maging ang kanilang tract record kung ang mga ito ay politician din. Lagyan ng grade ang bawat isa sa kanila gamit na batayan ang mga sagot sa mga tanong na ito. Ipagpatuloy ang pagsagot sa mga tanong hanggang sa makapag-file sila ng Certificate of Candidacy sa Oktubre. 

Isa pa. Tayo ay maaaring lumikha ng listahan ng mga panlipunang pagbabago na nais nating mangyari sa bansa at mga adhikaing pambayan na sa tingin natin ay maaring gawin ng isang pangulo. Ilista lahat ng iyong maiisip. Suriin kung alin dito ang mga magkaka-ugnay at i-klaster (pagsama-samahin). Bawat klaster ay lagyan ng suliraning tinutugunan. Halimbawa: Kung sa klaster ang iyong adhikain ay binubuo ng mga sumusunod: Kaligtasan sa pagmimina, pagsugpo sa illegal logging, pagapatupad ng mga maka-kalikasang batas, atbpa. Isulat kung anong suliraning panlipunan ang tinutugunan nito. Sa ating halimbawa, ang suliraning tinutugunan dito ay PAGKAWASAK NG KALIKASAN. Sa lahat ng mga pangalan ng klaster o grupo, isa-isang tingnan kung ito ay UGAT o BUNGA. Ihanay ang mga klaster at pumili ng limang sa palagay ninyo ay mas prayoridad. Ang pinakamalahaga ang lagyan ng bilang na 1, at ang sumunod ay 2, and so forth and so on.

At kapag nakapanood ng mga pampublikong pahayag ng mga kakandidatong pangulo ay tingnan kung sa kanilang mga mensahe ay may sumasagot o tumatalakay sa mga bagay na nasa iyong listahan. Bigyan ng mataas na grado ang kakandidatong babanggit ng mga adhikain mo sa iyong listahan, ayon sa pagkaka-sunod-sunod o malapit-lapit dito at mababang marka naman sa wala man lang binabanggit tungkol sa mga ito. Kagaya ng una, gawin natin ito hanggang sa Oktubre, bago sila mag-file ng CoC. Ito ang isa sa mga gawin nating batayan sa eleksyon.

Kapag hindi natin iniuugnay ang eleksyon sa ating mga mithiin gamit ang talino, bobotante tayo forever. Hindi ako nagbibiro….

(Photo: AFP)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Roxas’ Endorsement Today

Some things in the world of politics will happen whether we want them or not. There’s nothing we can do to stop the gathering at the historic Club Filipino late afternoon today, July 31, 2015, where President Benigno Aquino III will endorse DILG Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer in the 2016 elections. The endorsement (I would not use “anointment” because for me it connotes religious rite) coincides with the birthday of Mar’s mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas. The event is called “A Gathering of Friends” for it is not legal to hold a Political Convention at this early juncture while COMELEC is yet to issue its calendar of activities to guide election players and the public in general, the schedule and the Do’s and Don’ts for the May 9, 2016 polls.

Even the might and power of the rule of law cannot stop what is about to happen today in San Juan: PNoy endorsing Mar. From the looks of it, both the letters and intent of election laws, specifically Section 13 of RA 9369 that provides for the holding of political conventions 30 days before the filing of CoCs and Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that, in case of manual elections, such political conventions could be held “within thirty days before the commencement of the campaign periods,” as stressed by election law expert Atty. Romulo Makalintal.

I just do not know if the event tonight would bring excitement to the masses as the televised Mar’s wedding proposal to Koring at Willie Revillame’s program “Wowowee” some years back.

PNoy’s endorsement of Mar apparently cannot be stopped even by The Big One and the shaking of the West Valley Fault. As I have said time and again, I am writing this political opinion from my mere standpoint as a story teller. Though this would not make any difference at all, it is mortal sin for a story-teller to sit back, sigh and just allow the things to happen without telling what you have to tell. Also, a PM discussion with my journalist friend Madonna Virola of Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday on the matter compelled me write this piece. 

Like this blog entry, the endorsement would make no difference if the Liberal Party and the ruling coalition would be divided and the LP would crack into factions (In politics they call it “wings”). What is the use and practical benefit of such action if solid support and massive votes cannot swell from all frontiers? There’s already a looming break-up, according to reports, inside the ruling coalition between those who support Senator Grace Poe and Mar Roxas or maybe, other possible presidential candidates, like for instance, Panfilo Lacson who has been the rehabilitation and recovery czar of PNoy.

I would not be surprised seeing the ruling political leaders of Occidental Mindoro at Club Filipino today. But judging from my previous blog entry about the provincial results of presidential elections from 1992 to 2010, local endorsements in no way affect the outcome of our province-mates' votes in the last 23 years.

It is foolish to measure a live snake as well as to ascertain the impact of BS Aquino III’s endorsement as of yet. This question needs an answer: Who among the "presidentiables" or coalitions would be the true opposition? There are still a lot of things about to happen ahead. Endorsement, I think, is a volatile measuring tool for the success and failure of an electoral campaign of a certain candidate for presidency. Same true with surveys and those who are close to Grace Poe knows that. Remember how the survey leader Manny Villar was in the end toppled by PNoy in 2010? Binay himself only had a low 4 % rating before the 2010 elections but he eventually won over Roxas. Roxas may still pull a surprise win over Binay in their “re-match” come 2016 while Binay, as he said, might unload “a lucky punch”. The only certain thing today is uncertainty with regards to presidential aspirants. Another thing, both Roxas and Binay are unstoppable but it would be the more the merrier for the latter. 

The election fever is on today and the madness is about to start. The circus is about to commence. They are unstoppable…  

(Photo: Hataw Tabloid)

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Occidental Mindoro Presidential Votes from 1992 to 2010

Do you have any idea how Occidental Mindoro voted for the presidential race in the last four elections? I’ll tell you later.

As obvious as animals were created for the consumption of man and use of man, top politicians belonging to Liberal Party, the so-called Dream Team, in Occidental Mindoro has been, yet indirectly, endorsing the candidacy of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. But the question is, “What are the impacts of such endorsements of local political officials for a certain presidential aspirant?” Yes, endorsements are important and there’s nothing wrong about it no doubt, but how about its impact?

First, I am a more of a storyteller than a political analyst, just to clear myself. Only backed up by my 3 decades of inaccurately following political occurrences in Occidental Mindoro made me conclude that endorsements have an impact on elections but not the way we think it is. I am into opinion that endorsements in general does not change people’s mind when they already passed the limbo of un-decision. Tellingly, there’s nothing wrong with endorsement but it depends on who they are endorsing. The timing also counts, needless to say. One’s capacity or ability to win, still, is the biggest trick in the political game.

But after the filing of candidacy and the campaign trail is already half way, people will disregard endorsements and vote for the presidential candidate they like for whatever reasons they have. For example, if you intend and already fully convinced to vote Grace Poe for President, you're not going to vote for Mar Roxas because of, say, Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola's endorsement. But endorsements are only indicators for voters as to whether or not they could be comfortable with their chosen candidate but it can never be a driving point in any electoral contest. At the end of the day, the endorsers’ own campaign will be prioritized and given more weight and importance. To emphasize my point, allow me to share to you Occidental Mindoro’s presidential election results from 1992 to 2010 directly from the records of the Philippine Congress. 

In 1992, Jose T. Villarosa endorsed Ramon V. Mitra, his relative, but the people of Occidental Mindoro opted for Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco who garnered 23,893 votes while Mitra only got 19,897 votes. It was Fidel V. Ramos, who later, together with Villarosa became Josephine Ramirez-Sato’s wedding sponsor, gained the presidential seat. In 1998, when the rivalry of Villarosa and Sato already came into fruition, for instance, Joseph Estrada won via landslide both at the provincial and national level despite of the fact most of our local leaders endorsed and campaigned for Jose De Venecia. The same thing happened in the controversial 2004 elections when local political patrons endorsed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but the people of Occidental Mindoro voted for Fernando Poe, Jr. The former gained 34,267 votes compared to 78,688 for the latter. In 2010, the Villarosas led by then Deputy Speaker Amelita C. Villarosa endorsed Gilbert C. Teodoro receiving only 13,700 votes but our province-mates voted for Joseph “Erap” E. Estrada who got the biggest vote in our province’s history that we ever gave to presidential candidate which was pegged at 83,222 votes. As we all know the 2010 presidential race was won by President BS Aquino III and the people of Occidental Mindoro just contributed 50,468 votes for Kris’ elder brother. Please take note that every time Erap, the self-proclaimed man of the masses like Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, contested for presidency, we always make sure Erap was on top of our list. We have provided big numbers for Erap in two occasions, in 1998 and 2010, respectively. In 2010, despite of the fact that before the election he underwent an impeachment trial due to charges of graft practices, bribery, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution, the now Manila mayor gained the top post in our certificates of canvass. It was the same predicament Jejomar Binay is facing today. Lest we forget, Occidental Mindoro electorates placed Binay on top in the vice-presidential election getting 81,059 votes while Roxas only got 48,107 votes. Now tell me, have we achieved political maturity after 23 long years? 

If endorsement impact remains at the backseat of a political wagon, why local politicians are still doing this? But before we answer that, let me bring you to the 3 major things to consider in one’s individual campaign: volunteers, voters and financial campaign contributors. Endorsements, compared to animal kingdom, are just preys to attract the predator (read: money and volunteers) and hope the majority of the voters will follow. These three things need to be considered over and above one’s political platform and/or party affiliation, including strategies and mechanisms. One thing is certain: endorsements as such manifest the existence of a deadly animal called Patronage Politics. True enough, the Patron-Client relationship does not only exist between the politician and the voter but between a local candidate and a national candidate as well. Whatever would be its impacts.

Thomas Love Peacock once said: “Nothing can be more obvious than that all animals were created solely and exclusively for the use of man.” If politics is also made for the use of man, it is safe to determine that political endorsement is the animal whose only purpose is to benefit the man as a politician, obviously….

(Photo: Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro)   

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Making of Sablayan’s Tourism Blue Print

Aimed at boosting further the tourism industry in Sablayan, the municipality’s ecotourism office led by Ms. Sylvia T. Salgado launched the inception workshop last July 15, 2015 at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall located at the 2nd Floor of the Sablayan Municipal Building. This also serves as a kick-off activity towards the drafting and formulation of the local government’s Tourism Master Plan. The workshop participants came from practically all over the place from both public and private spheres. The tourism blue print formulation is facilitated by Ms. Chen Reyes-Mencias and her hubby Louie F. Mencias of the Blue Water Consultancy, both staunch advocates and prominent figures in Asia with regards to environmental education and preservation. The firm’s main task is to provide technical assistance to the local government unit in coming up with tourism master plan. Next to agriculture, tourism is lifeblood of this largest municipality in the Philippines.

Ms. Mencias, while presenting the rationale of the project, have made me discover the negative impacts of unplanned tourism like what was exposed in the documentary “Gringo Trails”. Right here in the Mindoro Island, in April last year, Robert Evora in an article in the Manila Standard Today wrote about the enormous shortage of potable water in Puerto Galera. Romeo Roxas, president of the Puerto Galera Business and Tourism Enterprises Association as quoted in the news item disclosed that, “The town has no tourism development plan, no environment management plan and Puerto Galera is fast losing its former grandeur”. Uncontrolled sewage discharge to its coastal waters is the main ecological disturbance threatening said former quiet and serene coastal town of Oriental Mindoro. In Puerto Galera, particularly the White Beach, urban planning and zoning was overlooked. These are classic examples of lack of effective and sustainable tourism plan, aside from hundreds of cultural, social (and moral) dangers posing as hazards brought about by unplanned tourism. This also caused concern to environmental groups due to said tourist destination’s close proximity to a highly sensitive marine biodiversity area like the world acclaimed Verde Island Passage, a strait that separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro. 

In Lubang town, also in Occidental Mindoro some years back, Blue Water assisted in mapping out the municipality’s tourism plan through resource mapping and resource inventory of its islands. Lubang Island’s tourism industry is gradually claiming prestige as of this time. Many people, me, included, made mistake in thinking that tourism only deals with promotion or promoting tourist destinations or spots in the social media or elsewhere. Tourism isn’t just organizing tourism councils and establishing tourism offices. Tourism is not only event organizing and projecting cultural activities only the elites and the socialites taking the center stage. Tourism must also serve the people in the community and not just the tourists,- both foreign and local, the local government, businessmen and the contractors. How? That should be considered in the blue print. Ms. Mencias’ input was Tourism 101 for me for it’s the first formal lecture I have received about the industry. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of the so-called Butler’s Tourism Life Cycle.

The administration of Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano is in full gear vying for an ecotourism program for “Amazing Sablayan”. It looks forward for sustainable and pro-poor tourism programs which highly consider the plight of the people and their base resources. But to his mind, as relayed in the opening remarks of his executive assistant Bong Marquez in the inception workshop, Sablayan’s best practices in local governance, as magnified in various national awards that made the municipality as a frontline municipality in the country, could also attract tourists aside from its being one of the ecotourism destinations in MiMaRoPa region.

Sablayan in more ways than one (for lack of space I cannot enumerate all here), have demonstrated key features of good governance which include openness, participation, effectiveness, accountability and coherence. These principles must be adhered and/or added to town’s tourism program. The local chief executive also expects that aside from his town’s tourist destinations like national parks Mts. Iglit-Baco and the Apo Reef and the other scenic places, people or tourists from all over would visit Sablayan to study the programs and policies initiated by his administration that again, are too many to mention.

And of course, any visionary leader would not allow his or her tourism program become contributory channel for social, natural and cultural attenuations …


(Photo: Heraldion Manzano)