Monday, June 29, 2009

Mangyan, Politician and Election

I was surprised to see hundreds of Mangyan roaming around a compound allegedly owned by a political patron in Brgy. Labangan Poblacion in San Jose last week, until an informant told me that the mountain-dwellers are here for the on-going voters' registration for 2010 elections. They are from a nearby Mangyan community. Yes, for a mass registration to a local Commission on Election or COMELEC office. Their transportation, food and accommodation are free of charge courtesy of said political patron.

In 2007, Atty. Margarita Tamunda of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) who was assigned to monitor the canvassing of election results in Occidental Mindoro reported that Mangyan folk were being manipulated by big politicians in Paluan and Sta. Cruz. The Paluan incident was featured in a TV show “Imbestigador” over GMA 7. Imagine, the Mangyans were given free literacy education where they were taught how to write name of certain politicians on a ballot. My goodness!

“What’s wrong with keeping them during elections? They are not kidnapped. They have food and television and videoke entertainment there and they can get out of the place anytime they like…” Well, they’re right because under the present election code this practice is not illegal. But this line of thinking is not only exclusive to political partisans. Sadly, many of us Christians see nothing immoral with such practice.

As early as in the middle of 1920’s, Gov. Robert S. Offley undertook initial efforts to come into contacts with the Mangyans,- our indigenous brothers. That was during the American colonial period. Offley found out that the lowlanders exploited the Mangyans for a cheap labor source or manpower. The American governor absorbed them into the body politics and the tribes have to give up their cultural identity. Due to the Christians’ perceived “extreme backwardness” of the tribal members, through a Manila-initiated policy, they were separated from the “Tagalogs” or Christians.

According to author Volker Schult in his book “Mindoro : The Social History of A Philippine Island”, the first Filipino governor of Mindoro, Juan Morente, Jr., favored the strict separation of the Tagalogs and Mangyans. His motivations are not only paternalistic and humanitarian but also tinted with political reasons. The segregation, made through establishments of schools and reservations, was seen as incentive for migration or to attract many people from other neighboring provinces to come to Mindoro. Through this policy on reservation, the ancestral land and of the tribes was easily distributed to the migrants. The Mangyan leaders vehemently opposed the national policy and sought the intervention of the Supreme Court (SC) on the legal matter. Atty. Vicente Sotto represent the Mangyans in court but in 1919, five against four justices declared the Reservations legal. The SC then stated:

“And true indeed they are Filipinos, with many but not all the rights which citizenship implies. And true, indeed, they are Filipinos. But just as surely, the Manguianes are citizens of a low degree of intelligence. If the Philippines is to be rich and powerful country, Mindoro must be populated and its fertile regions must be developed…” (Supreme Court; Report of Cases; Vol. 39; March 17, 1919 pp. 713-719). And that is the main reason why Mindoro’s population became heterogeneous.Why the Mangyans were driven out of their lands.

Even today, they need to be integrated to mainstream society but without sacrificing their cultural identity. There must be a balanced process, a so-called “ethnical symbiosis” or mutually beneficial interactions between Mangyans and politicians. Concretely, there is a need for separate registration and polling places in every barangay where the non-Mangyans, except people from COMELEC, cannot intervene. Massive community-based voters’ education to be conducted by non-partisan groups specifically those organizations mandated by law for the promotion and protection of the IPs in cooperation with COMELEC. Through these simple steps, we could save them from the bane of local politicians. From the evils of politics.

Going back to this modern day practice of “school’ and “reservation” for our indigenous peoples,- to my mind, any local election held in under these circumstances is a vicious farce and most scandalous mockery of their dignity. They are taking advantage of the Mangyans’ sorry plight. And we cannot be a party to an act of blunders that degrades and debases the Mangyans,- the poorest of the poor among Mindorenyos. We are our brothers’ keeper, aren’t we? Now, tell me that there’s nothing wrong with this practice,- and there is definitely something wrong with your being a Christian…

(SSC File Photo : An anti-mining rally in Mamburao)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Onward to Jerusalem

Today, as typhoon “Feria” lashes Occidental Mindoro, we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist, son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Luke tells us the angel Gabriel announced his birth to his father Zechariah and gave him the name John, which means ‘God is gracious.’ Even while still in his mother’s womb he recognized the presence of Jesus by leaping when Mary visited Elizabeth. It is a reminder to us of the sacredness of life in the womb. He left his parents to live in the desert the life of a prophet. He preached in the desert dressed like an Old Testament prophet wearing a garment of camel-skin and eating locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6; Matt 3:4). He lived and preached, as I have said, in the desert.

The word “desert” reminded me of an e-mail I forwarded to Mr. Dino Carnay, the London-based Moderator of the Divine Word College of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro e-mail group in the internet. Mr. Carnay received an anonymous e-mail presumably from a supporter (maybe a lapdog) of a top political honcho of said municipality. Some group members had been airing their sentiments on poor road condition including heaps of other social disorders in the province particularly in San Jose. They are constantly calling the attention of our local officials on the matter. And instead what Dino got is a subjective hate letter. I copy-pasted below the letter I forwarded to him and the group:

As a Christian, I dream of individual members of the community (virtual community like this one) who are alive and life-giving, free and freeing, responsive and responsible, and loving and lovable. That is why I participate in some discussions of this group. And though I am not a true-blooded Diviner (I dropped and transferred to OMNC in the 80s), I am proud to be part of this community.

Alive and life-giving. It is not enough that one can do his/her daily chores and live a “normal”, worry-free or “apolitical” life. We have to be alive not only to one pertaining only to bodily functions but by being aware of what is happening in our every life-situation and also knows what is happening around us, around our immediate areas. We also need to know why it is happening to us.

Free and willing. We, I presume as members of this group, are free members who do not only possesses freedom but are themselves instruments of freedom. We envision a free community that the members are not judged by his/her social status or the amount of taxes he/she contribute for the municipality. Or his/her physical presence in his hometown or province.

Responsive and responsible. We in this group are responsive persons who respond to the call of public service including the very basic rights to information. We are not only aware of the problems around us but we try to be a part of the solution to those problems. We have to participate but we must do it not in an irresponsible manner. Our attacks must not be personal.

Loving and lovable. Let us be serious in all of our efforts to love our neighbors and even our enemies. A true lover open himself/herself to the one he like or he dislike. He/she is a warrior who do not hide his/her identity. A lover is not coward for the warrior within him/her makes him/her brave. And that makes him/her even more lovable.

I also envision public servants (i.e. politicians, their staunch supporters, employees, relatives, etc.) who speak and listen, discerns and decide together with the people in implementing their decisions, pray and celebrate their joys and sorrows together and honestly look at what they had done and failed to do.

Concretely, this is what I dream for my hometown, my beloved San Jose: A place where wealth is used for sharing, power is exercised for service and values which create oneness or solidarity.

Actually, the themes are attributable to a fellow Occidental Mindoro citizen, Dr. Henry L. Bernardo, a former seminarian and now professor of Religious Education at the Dela Salle University-Dasmarinas in his book “Responding to the Call of Justice and Love”(p. 2).

My parting my words for Mr. Carnay :”Those criticisms are just proof that this “congregation” you have started is not established in a barren desert but already trooping toward social “Jerusalem” of our times!”

St. John the Baptist’s ministry resembled that of the prophets and we could say that of the Church, in that he disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed. We see him disturbing the comfortable when he said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with your repentance and do not presume to tell yourselves we have Abraham as our father.” His message obviously disturbed people so some of the powerful did repent, including tax collectors and soldiers…

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Of Fathers and Presidentiables

June 1981 when I was first qualified to vote but I dropped the chance. As a child, I was already attracted and exposed to editorial cartoons and caricatures from the pages of Philippine Free Press,- an anti-Marcos magazine, from my paternal grandfather’s shelf. "Papang" worked as chief medical technician in Malaria Control Unit of the Department of Health in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in the late 40's up to early 70s. He was updated in anything about Philippine politics. My grandpa taught me to love books and journals. He even had a scrap book of people behind the news then such as Ninoy Aquino, Imelda Marcos, Bernabe Buscayno, and mind you,.. even Dovie Beams.

Together we listen to the fiery radio commentaries of Damian Sotto during the pre-Martial Law days. I was only 10 then and 8 years after, as I told you, I waived my supposedly first exercise of my right to vote. I am fully aware that Marcos’ just fielded Bartolome Cabangbang of the Federalist Party and former Defense Secretary and former Bulacan governor Alejo Santos of the Nationalista Party (NP)for that bogus election. Allow me to remind the “EDSA babies” of today that Cabangbang and Santos were just sent by Marcos into the political ring due to the absence of credible opposition that time. As expected, Marcos got 92% of the total votes and 3% and 5% for Cabangbang and Santos, respectively. And then came the Aquino assasination and EDSA 1 and the rest is history.

That was long ago when my grandfather and father were still alive…

I was so amazed about the news I stumbled upon Thursday,- June 17, 2009. Nicanor “Nick” Perlas III, an activist-environmentalist just presented himself as an aspirant for the presidency. According to Perlas, 59, “There are many Filipinos who have grown tired of elections where there are no real choices. We are tired of always having to choose the lesser evil. This is why I am announcing my intention to run in the 2010 elections.” But he emphasized that he is open for a selection process as long as it is credible and geared towards unification of the so-called “third force”. I admire Perlas as a propagator of sustainable development and a social activist, a writer and an internationalist.

I have a confession to make. I included three virtually unknown senatorial candidates last 2007in my ballot. Even they did not make it, I am proud that I voted for them. They are Zosimo Jesus M. Paredes II, Adrian O. Sison and Martin Donato Bautista of the Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP). I came to know them in a candidate’s forum over ABS-CBN News Network or ANC. I was so impressed not only with their political platform but their integrity, honesty and credibility. I was so sure that they have a zero chance of winning. But more importantly, those are votes came from the bottom of my heart, my intellect and my sanity. Just like Perlas, AKP believes in the Church's Social Teaching or CST.

I will not vote for traditional politicians. I am for anybody from the so-called “third force” even if they only have a very slim or even zero chance of winning. But my vote, if I may repeat, will come from the bottom of my heart, my intellect and my sanity.

My late father, a lowly pump tender or laborer of Salt Industry of the Philippines in Barrio Bubog, used to scold me with these(more or less)words, specially when he’s tipsy and me in the middle of quitting on something, “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” And I remembered his "nugget of wisdom" through the years only to find out that it was George E. Woodberry who first said it. My old man taught me how to fight, both literally and figuratively.

Yes, "particles" of Papa and Papang live inside of me,- in my heart, my intellect and my sanity that grew since I became a father myself more than a decade ago.

Happy Fathers’ Day everyone!...

(Photo of one of the books of Nicanor Perlas entitled "Elite Globalization" from the SSC File)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just Rhetoric

Intex Resources, Inc., is proposing for the establishment of a 1,000-hectare High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) plant in Brgy. Pinagturilan, Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro but the project was rejected by the people yesterday. Sta. Cruz’ local legislators through a Municipal Ordinance,- which is made possible by pressures being employed by residents who staged series of mass actions recently, officially blocked every attempt to erect said mining facility. Again, it was a partial victory for us who believe in the integrity of creation.We who oppose the Mindoro Nickel Project or MNP.

Indeed, the MNP is the hottest political issue in my province today.

When asked if she is a “pro-mining” or an “anti-mining”, a particular public figure in our place openly declared, “I am not pro-mining. I am not anti-mining. I am pro-people!” . But stances of this sort must be mirrored through action. There must be concrete, qualifiable and quantifiable measurements for such pronouncement. For example, there are (Local Government Units)LGU’s in Occidental Mindoro who showed clear manifestations of their opposition to MNP. The Municipality of Sablayan passed and approved General Ordinance No. 2007-GO03B and for Abra de Ilog, they have Ordinance No. 09, Series of 2008. Both Mayor Godofredo Mintu and Vice Mayor Eduardo Gadiano (of Sablayan) including Mayor Eric Constantino (of Abra de Ilog), make their presence felt in every public activity and even in mobilizations concerning the MNP. Not to be excluded of course are the efforts of the rest of their LGU officials.

In Sta. Cruz alone, there are 10 mining applications waiting if the MNP would prosper. Around 25 thousand hectares would be covered by said applications. Based on the figures from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the main commodities that are being eyed for mining explorations are nickel, chrome, iron and bull quartz.

As usual, it must be “deed” over “words” for us. But what would a “pro-people” political leader do to show that he/she is really “pro-people”? Concretely in our situation, what she or he need to do is to remind the mining company of the involvement of concerned LGUs in the exploration stage (i.e. the EIA process) of the project to get free, prior and informed consent of the people on every community project as mandated by laws. How can you stand and declare that you are “pro-people” without this?

He or she must also push for preventive legislative mechanism as safety nets for its negative impacts. The “pro-people” public servant must also warn his/her political allies, or anybody within his/her sphere of influence, for a possible or imminent blunders of Intex. As a spring board, there are things that needs to be initiated by a “pro-people” official : drafting of a local code of conduct for mining companies or sort of guidelines for responsible mining. The good, true-blooded and elected “pro-people” leader should spearhead studies and researches regarding its impact on our environment and agricultural sustainability. These are just few examples.

I go personally for the approval of the Alternative Mining Bill in Congress. Support the House Bill 6342!

With the people in general and the LGU’s had been marginalized by Intex in these very important processes, your “pro-people” stance is just a plain and simple rhetoric…

("The Well is Connected to its Source" SSC File Photo)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dangerous Responsibility

Former Vice-Governor turned- broadcaster Atty. Crispin P. Perez, Jr. will be laid to rest come Saturday. In case you are not familiar with his case, please find it in the “Snap News of the Week” section of this blog in its left side bar. When the news on the killing erupted, various national media organizations immediately reported the incident, including the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists or CPJ, an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1981. CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide by defending the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. You may click here for the specific report. Perez worked as a PR man of a politician, former politician himself and was a lawyer by profession.

Until now, police authorities and other investigating agencies are still clueless on the motive of the attack. The assailant is still at-large and unidentified. Only one thing is certain. Perez co-anchored a radio program over DWDO entitled “Sa Totoo Lang” (In Truthful Words) together with two other anchors who had been lambasting their former boss almost every morning since last week of May.

And the very vital question is this: “Was he killed because of his recent commentaries over the radio including other things related to the content or his manner of speaking in his radio program?” Let us give proper authorities an elbow room to do their job. It is mainly their job and not ours. We are just bystanders in the case. Temporarily, let us forget the Perez Case. What you will read below is in no way connected with it. So far…

I had been reading a book since Wednesday published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists entitled “Staying Alive: A Safety Manual for Journalists” and published in 2006. These words (was it slogan?) caught my attention : “ Journalism is a dangerous profession. Responsibility can be our best protection.” The first catch word is “Dangerous”. Indeed it is a dangerous profession, especially if you are a media practitioner in the province. In May 2005, CPJ called the Philippines “the most murderous country” for journalists after analyzing more than 5 years of death records worldwide.

Now let us go to the second key word of the phrase: “Responsibility”. A responsible media practitioner observes media ethics. An American media scholar named Edmund Lambeth defines the ethical journalist as a “humane truth-seeker who seeks justice and protects freedom as a faithful steward of his craft”. His definition lists five guiding principles for ethical conduct in journalism. These are: Truth telling: Balance, collaboration; Justice: Fairness; Freedom : Autonomy of journalists from pressure; Humaneness : Compassion; Stewardship : We are caretakers of trust in the press.

From p. 13 of said book is written: “The emotional and heated language that is often used in the radio commentaries… makes broadcasters … prone to attack. What has been broadcast is passed on by word of mouth, and the reality is often exaggerated in the telling and retelling. Those who offended by the broadcasts react emotionally. They want to hit back.” But the mere act of being unethical cannot give anybody a license to harm or silence them. “But silencing a broadcaster is a crime against free speech. The murder of a journalist creates a climate of fear and intimidation. If journalists are intimidated and no one speaks out against abuse of power, communities become powerless against such abuses. Communities suffer even long after a journalist is slain.” Amen.

In parting allow me to quote the 11 point Code of Ethics put out in 1988 by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the Philippine Press Institute and the National Press Club or NPC : “I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should be my watchword.”

But how can our local journalists (I mean those journalistic practice are their bread and butter) maintain the dignity of their profession and decency if they are working for a politician or a political group and serving their ends? Indeed they are journalists, but for whom? …

(SSC File Photo. Me and my "Pintig.." co-anchors in action.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Make or Break

This can be considered a sequel to my previous blog on my erstwhile boxing idol, Diomedes “Joe” Francisco of Brgy. Batasan, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. His father.

It’s going be a red-letter day for boxing fans all over the country. We, people of Occidental Mindoro, must join our hands in praying and supporting this homegrown talent of ours. Yes, our very own Drian “Gintong Kamao (Golden Fist)” Francisco, the pride of Buenavista, Sablayan; the reigning WBO Asia-Pacific Flyweight Champion is going to face Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion of Panama for the WBA International Super Flyweight Championship at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The very much anticipated bout tagged as “Banal na Paghihiganti” (“Holy Revenge”), the venue is expected to be jam-packed. This is a make or break for Francisco. This fight is considered as Francisco's ticket to international fame, or at least recognition. The Filipino fans are also hoping that he would avenge the only loss suffered by his compatriot AJ “Bazooka” Banal. That is why it was dubbed as such. Banal suffered a heart-breaking loss, a 10th round TKO, to Concepcion last July 26, 2008 and the Francisco-Concepcion Duel would also fall 26th of July. Again, remember the date,- July, 26, 2009.

You may click here for additional story about Drian Francisco and his father Joe from

The fight between Francisco, a southpaw who has 16 wins, 12 by knockouts and a draw and Concepcion who has 13 wins and 3 losses will serve as an eliminator to face the WBA Super Flyweight Champion Vic Darchinyan at the end of the year.

Like Manny Pacquiao, May Drian Francisco unite our politicians and all the Occidental Mindoro people even only on that particular day. And to paraphrase Homer, “It (revenge) is sweeter far than flowing honey.”

Go, Drian, Go! ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rebuilding OMECO

At long last, after almost a decade, the 30th OMECO Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) which has become so elusive to the people of San Jose due to the BOD’s deliberate stand to hold it in other far flung municipalities of Occidental Mindoro for reasons known only to them is ours to savor comes 31 May 2009 for it will become an avenue where matters of critical importance besetting our beloved cooperative could be ventilated and thereby addressed.

Middle of year 2005, after ascertaining the facts relative to the very alarming and worsening financial condition of our cooperative based on valid documents which comes to our possession via underground, as we were not provided same by then General Manager Alex Labrador in spite of several request, OMECO is fast sinking like a boat and nearing to go bankrupt if we just let things pass by.

Showing our deep concerns to the plight of our ailing cooperative, we immediately inform the BOD’s and the top management of the true standing of the cooperative because it appeared that they do not have the deeper grasp of what is going on in their turf. We also asked them to institute drastic reform measures so that the unabated depreciation of OMECO’s resources could be curtailed as the situation then is perceived to be still manageable in over-turning its negative operating performance.

We make certain our demand of terminating the services of Mr. Alex Labrador based on legal grounds as he is no longer effective and competent to remain in his post. But instead of appreciating our concerns, we are rebuffed for no justifiable reasons and everything goes on as a big big joke. Why? Simply because the BOD’s issued a resolution expressing their confidence to GM Labrador instead of terminating him for cause! Hopeless of the situation, we brought our predicaments to NEA with a prayer for their definitive actions as they exercise regulatory powers over the cooperative. Sad to say, NEA failed also to take determinant acts as they always tossed the ball to the BOD’s that is not so responsive to the issues.

The struggle continued for three (3) long years and the price of inactions by both the BOD’s and the NEA exacted a great toll on us member-consumers as the true owner of the cooperative and in which they are fully accountable. And as we have feared long before, our OMECO greatly retrogressed and went technically BANKCRUPT since its capital base assets were not even enough to compensate for all of its obligations.

The combination of forces of some concerned citizens, the church and the disgruntled employees of OMECO led to the creation of a de facto SAVE OMECO MOVEMENT which bannered coordinated efforts for the needed reform in the cooperative. Its no let-up advocacies eventually forced the BOD’s and the NEA to take definitive actions over Mr. Alex Labrador which compelled him to voluntarily end his services as General Manager of OMECO. The rest is history.

NOW is the opportune time for us to do our share in the rehabilitation of our beleaguered OMECO where efforts to make it financially viable are next to impossible because of the following factors:

1. OMECO is cash stripped and do not have much resources to meet the on-going concerns of its day to day operation.

2. OMECO’S deficit in spending is at the average of 2.5M a month.

3. OMECO could not generate additional revenue to augment its cash position because its present distribution system cannot accommodate expansion.

4. OMECO has no cash for the needed materials necessary to reduce system loss. Reduction in system loss will translate to a valuable cash inflow for OMECO.

5. OMECO indebtedness to NPC for unpaid power bill, E-Vat, interest charges, surcharges and penalties is now at the benchmark of 250M. NPC demanded OMECO to be current in its payment; otherwise, power supply cut-off will be imposed on a periodic basis.

6. OMECO does not have the cash to pay the member-consumers meter deposits which has been ordered by ERC to be refunded comes 2011.

Viewed in the light of the foregoing circumstances, we are therefore appealing for the continued support of the Kamay-ari on the following course of actions that we deemed proper and urgently necessary in propelling back OMECO into a financially viable cooperative, viz:

1. An action requesting NEA to extend emergency financial and technical assistance to the comprehensive recovery/rehabilitation plan of OMECO.

2. An action requesting NPC to extend more considerations and leeway’s in their treatment of OMECO outstanding obligations by way of condoning the interest, penalties and surcharges on its account and by allowing onother restructuring of debts to loan with a longer duration and with the General Appropriations Act of 2009 as the legal basis.

3. An action requesting NPC to offset the amount of Php38M+ paid by OMECO to Fabmik as genset rentals against its collectibles to the cooperative in the spirit of cooperation and due observance of the missionary mission of NPC as enunciated by the EPIRA law. OMECO under the current set-up should only be in the business of power distribution. Power generation in the missionary areas like ours is the domain of NPC.

4. An action declaring the meter deposits which are due for refund by 2011 as ordered by ERC to be an additional patronage capital of member-consumers with certain qualification.

5. An action directing the OMECO’s management to implement massive cost reduction in the areas of system loss, operational expenditures and personnel retrenchment.

6. An action requesting the Mother of the Province of Occidental Mindoro, Governor Josephine Ramirez Sato whose mandate emanate from us to help in whatever manner in the implementation of the comprehensive recovery/rehabilitation plan of OMECO.

7. An action requesting the League of Mayors of the Province of Occidental Mindoro to help in whatever manner in the implementation of the comprehensive recovery/rehabilitation plan of OMECO.

8. An action to amend some provisions of the cooperative By-Laws which are found to be no longer responsive as of recent time.

9. An action calling for the immediate constitution of the Multi-Sectoral Electrification Advisory Council (MSEAC) so that the ten (10) sectoral components of the community could have a share in the effective governance of OMECO.

10. An action requesting NPC to fastrack the completion of their 69 KV lines from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro all the way to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro via Abra de Ilog and also the probable interconnection of Mindoro Island to Main Luzon Transmission Grid of Transco via submarine cables as the pegged power supply requirement of 50MW for the two (2) provinces has already been attained. These will guarantee the cooperative to have sufficient power to distribute and the power consumers to be assured of reliable and dependable power supply at present and future power requirement levels.

11. An action calling for an increase participation of member-consumers through an Special Assembly Meeting (if AGMA is not yet forthcoming) before the cooperative through the BOD’s and the management could enter into any power supply contract with qualified power providers as we have sad and bitter lessons to reckon in this.

12. An action calling for the authorization of the Save Omeco Movement representatives to the BOD’s to become Ex-Officio members (2 permanent and 2 alternate) effective immediately and will remain only up to the duration of recovery process.

Coupled all of the above with the emergence of vibrant and responsible Directors in the BOD’s, the manifested enthusiasm and firm convictions to govern effectively on the part of the new management, the ultimate resolved of the Save Omeco Movement to be part and parcel of the critical planning and policy promulgations, the avowed intervention of local government units to help in whatever manner they can, and of course, the Kamay-ari extending their full trust and confidence during the recovery process, we believe OMECO can be great once again.

(Note: This piece is originally entitled "OMECO: Rebuilding the Ruins to Prominence; An Appeal to "Kamay-Ari" to Make the Cooperative Great Again" written by Mr. Joaquin "Jake" L. Castronuevo, SAVE Omeco Convener; Photo: SSC File)