WWII details on role of vets for history education pressed

>> Sunday, May 15, 2022

By Julie G. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY -- - Local world war II veterans' role in Baguio's liberation  77 years ago, and subsequently the country's freedom from Japanese forces must be integrated in  secondary and college history lessons.
    This was emphasized during the April 27 rites commemorating liberation of Baguio by guest of honor and speaker Undersecretary and Phil. Veteran Affairs Office (PVAO) Administrator Ernesto Carolina.
    He was referring to verified local historical narratives from Filipino freedom fighters and books, two of whom were authored by local Baguio boy Cesar Pobre.
    There are also numerous yet untold heroic acts done by the gallant and courageous local veterans which should be uncovered for they are worth mentioning in our schools for emulation and inspiration, he said.
    A memorial comparable to the Mt. Samat shrine in Pilar, Bataan would also commemorate WWII events and personalities, an act from a whole nation of grateful to the defenders of freedom, Carolina added.
    It is our duty to tell and re-tell the liberation stories for the next generation never to forget, he further said.
    This was echoed by Rep. Marquez Go and Mayor Benjamin Magalong in their liberation day messages.
    Go has authored a congressional bill seeking the inclusion of comprehensive WWII details in secondary and higher education subjects.
    The mayor, who mentioned of the now known as the battle of Irisan, likened our present-day situation as waging war in troubled times, yet winning trials over adversities, towards a comfortable peace.  
    The liberation day program was well-attended by National Executive Secretary of the Philippine Veterans Bank Miguel Angelo Villarreal, some city councilors, PVB Baguio branch representative Jacqueline Eman, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) head Glenn Lonogan and personnel, veterans of foreign wars, reservists, representatives of the USAFIP-NL, and Sons and daughter of veterans association, inc.


The power children do not know they have


Bernie V. Lopez

Children have certain powers that are hard for adults to understand. They have a magical influence over people in their innocence. They do not even know they possess such powers. It’s instinctive and natural. Five-year-old Peggy is such a child.
    Peggy opens her piggy bank, and pours the contents on the floor. She counts the coins three times, to be sure there is no mistake. She brings the piggy bank to the pharmacy six blocks away.
PEGGY – Sir, my brother Andrew is very sick, so I want to buy a miracle for him. (Suppressed laughter from the long line of customers. Peggy ignores them.)
PHARMACIST – I beg your pardon?
PEGGY – He has something bad growing inside his head and my dad says only a miracle can save him. So how much does a miracle cost?
PHARMACIST – We don’t sell miracles here, young lady.
PEGGY – I have the money. I can get more. Just tell me how much it costs.
DR. CARLTON – Hi there. I’m Dr. Carlton. What kind of a miracle does your brother need?
PEGGY – (In tears) I don’t know. I just know he’s really sick and mommy says he needs an operation. But my dad can’t pay for it, so I want to buy a miracle.
DR. CARLTON – How much do you have?
PEGGY – One dollar and eleven cents. I can get more if I need to.
DR. CARLTON – What a coincidence, the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. Bring me to Andrew. I have the miracle he needs.
Peggy gives her piggy bank to Dr. Carlton, a famous neuro-surgeon. He operates on Andrew free of charge, who was up and about in no time.
PEGGY’S MOM – That surgery was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?
PEGGY – A miracle costs one dollar and eleven cents, Mommy.
PEGGYS MOM – Plus your faith, Peggy, which was part of the miracle.
PEGGY’S MOM – Yes. Without your faith, your savings would not have been enough.
PEGGY – Oh, really? And how much is my faith worth?
PEGGY’S MOM – Priceless, my dear.
A ball is a circle, infinite because it has no beginning, no end. So is our circle of friends. When you pass the ball, like Dr. Carlton to Peggy, it multiplies endlessly. Peggy and Andrew later on passed the ball, becoming top neuro-surgeons. Together, they saved thousands of lives, but never charged a single cent. They bought the pharmacy six blocks away, from whose income, they lived modestly. They retained the aging pharmacist.
Here is another story. Policeman Ralph is driving with his eight-year-old son Francis. There is a huge traffic jam for three kilometers, and they have not moved for more than an hour. Ralph goes down to investigate, telling Francis to stay in the car.
Ralph joins a group of eight other policemen huddled together with the police chief, thinking how to solve the problem. A sixteen-wheeler was stuck at the overhead pedestrian crossing, apparently too tall to make it through.
CHIEF – Hi Ralph. We tried to pull out the truck using two bulldozers. The steel cables snapped. It won’t budge.
RALPH – Chief, how about we apply some grease on the roof of the truck.
CHIEF – We tried that too. No go. We’ve tried everything.
Impatient, Francis gets out of the car, wiggles through the crowd of policemen until he is in front of the police chief.
FRANCIS – I got a solution, chief.
RALPH – (Angry and embarrassed). I told you to stay in the car. This is not for kids.
Francis goes back to the car. But he cannot stand it anymore. He goes back, wiggles his way once again through until he is in front of the police chief.
FRANCIS – I got a solution, chief.
This time, the policemen all laughed. Francis, struggles and screams as his embarrassed dad carries him bodily back to the car, and handcuffs him to the steering wheel.
CHIEF – (Screaming to be heard). Hey, Ralph, bring the kid back here. (They go back.) Okay, kid. Speak up.
Traumatized by the ridicule, Francis is silent and in tears. Ralph gives him a slight push. The policemen laugh again.
CHIEF – Shut up guys. (He takes Francis aside, and whispers.) Okay, kid. Take it easy. Forget your dad and the policemen. What’s your solution?
FRANCIS – Simple, chief. Take the air out of the tires.
The police chief is speechless. He hugs Francis. In no time, the traffic was solved. Ralph lifts Francis, as the policemen and many onlookers applaud.
The wisdom of children is pure instinct. They do not need logic. They know instantly. “Praise to You, Oh Father, for what You have hidden from the wise, you have revealed to little children.” Luke 10:21.
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SC approves amendments to rules on town poll cases

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting command center at the Quadricentennial Pavilion in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (Photo courtesy of the PPCRV)


THE Supreme Court has approved the interim amendments to the procedure for municipal election contests.
    The new procedure updates and consolidates the existing rules on election contests in the lower courts.
    The tribunal said that the amendments "shall apply to all municipal election contests in connection with the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections and subsequent elections."
    It provides for a more efficient, expeditious and just resolution of election cases involving municipal officials.
    Some of the provisions of the 2019 Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure in the service and filing of pleadings were incorporated, among others, as well as the judicial affidavit rule, and the use of the available electronic payment system in the payment of filing fees and other deposits.
    Moreover, it also provides for an initial recount of ballots of the pilot clustered protested precincts which "shall not be less than and nearest to twenty percent (20%) of the total number of protested precincts that will best illustrate the merits of the protest."
    The high court said the initial recount aims to determine if there is a substantial recovery wherein the protestant is able to recover at least 20 percent of the overall vote lead of the protestee.
    "Based on the said determination, the court may dismiss the protest, without further proceedings, if no substantial recovery could be established," the tribunal said.
    The amendments will take effect following its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.


Why is Russia’s Victory Parade meaningless?


Perry Diaz

RUSSIA CELEBRATED HER MAY 9, 2022 Victory Parade with pomp and circumstance but it lacked meaning amidst President Vladimir Putin’s disastrous Ukraine invasion.  
    While it was originally planned to celebrate Putin’s victory in Ukraine, it remained a hollow and wishful dream that never saw the light of day.  Ukraine until now remains strong and the Ukrainians remain determined to protect their beloved country.
     Instead Putin used the occasion in celebration of the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II to urge Russian troops to continue fighting in Ukraine.  He likened Ukrainians to Nazis and he blames the U.S. and the West for his invasion of Ukraine.  He even said that the reason why he invaded Ukraine was because Ukraine was planning to invade Russia.  But that was different from what he had been saying before – that he ordered the invasion of Ukraine because NATO was planning to invade Russia.
    In his speech, he began by saying, “The defense of our Motherland when its destiny was at stake has always been sacred. It was the feeling of true patriotism that Minin and Pozharsky’s militia stood up for the Fatherland, soldiers went on the offensive at the Borodino Field and fought the enemy outside Moscow and Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk, Stalingrad and Kursk, Sevastopol and Kharkov.
    “Today, as in the past, you are fighting for our people in Donbass, for the security of our Motherland, for Russia.
    “We take pride in the unconquered courageous generation of the victors, we are proud of being their successors, and it is our duty to preserve the memory of those who defeated Nazism and entrusted us with being vigilant and doing everything to thwart the horror of another global war.
    “Therefore, despite all controversies in international relations, Russia has always advocated the establishment of an equal and indivisible security system which is critically needed for the entire international community.
    “Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.
    “Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us.”
Ukraine invasion
It was a lie.  Ukraine never desired to attain nuclear weapons.  As a matter of fact, Ukraine’s huge stockpile of more than 1,900 nuclear weapons that she inherited when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, were given back to Russia a result of the Budapest Memorandum, signed by the U.S., the U.K., and Russia, which provided security guarantees that Ukraine will keep her sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Well, Russia broke that security guarantee when she invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. 
    Putin then claimed that NATO began building military infrastructure, hundreds of foreign advisors started working, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weapons were being delivered to Ukraine from NATO countries.  Just to set the record straight, NATO started delivering weapons to Ukraine when the threat of invasion was imminent.
    And here comes the funny part of his speech: “We are aware that US veterans who wanted to come to the parade in Moscow were actually forbidden to do so. But I want them to know: We are proud of your deeds and your contribution to our common Victory.”
    But what made him think that patriotic American veterans wanted to participate in his Victory Parade?  Has he gone crazy?
 Then he went on to say: “Today, our warriors of different ethnicities are fighting together, shielding each other from bullets and shrapnel like brothers.  This is where the power of Russia lies, a great invincible power of our united multi-ethnic nation.”
    Jews happen to be a big component of Russia’s “multi-ethnic nation.”  A rift between Russia and Israel deepened when Moscow claimed that the Israel government is supporting what it called a “neo-Nazi” regime in Kyiv, Ukraine.  And tensions sparked when Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister claimed that Adolf Hitler was himself part Jewish.  The comment did not bode well in Israel, who has managed to stay neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war.
    With the war in Ukraine now in its third month, there is no sight of it ending soon.  As a matter of fact, it is dragging on endlessly with Putin doubling down.  And now, even Sweden and Finland who have traditionally stayed neutral in world affairs are being dragged into the East-West rivalry due to the two Nordic countries’ apprehension that they would be next on Putin’s sight to invade. 
    Recently, they indicated their willingness to join the NATO alliance, which infuriated Putin, who then threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic region.
Threaten neighbors
What’s in Putin’s mind that he’s threatening his neighbors?  Does he have grandiose dreams of reviving the Soviet Empire?  If he does, he needs to know that the international community is coalescing against him.  He is now being treated as an international pariah.
    Take into account that his health doesn’t appear to be so good.  His irrationality and craziness is cause for the Western leaders to worry.  It’s different today than it was during the Cold War when the nuclear standoff worked because both sides were rational.  
    Both sides understood the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.  They knew that the use of nuclear weapons would lead to MAD – mutually assured destruction.  So they didn’t do it.
    Putin must be suffering from paranoia because he claims that he is surrounded.  But NATO accounts for only 6% of his land border.  It’s either that or his health problems are causing him to be wary of people who surround him. 
    U.S. media reported that Putin is going to undergo cancer treatment.  That means that he would have to temporarily hand over power to the secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, which was reported by the U.S.’s New York Post. The anticipated surgery and recovery are expected to incapacitate Putin for "a short time," the report said.  The New York Times further reported that Putin has been rumored to suffer from a host of other serious maladies, including Parkinson’s disease.  He was seen tightly gripping a desk during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last month.
Is it fair to presume that Vladimir Putin’s reign will soon come to an end? 


Trying to make sense out of the May 9 polls


Alfred P. Dizon

UP to this time, numerous reports on media and online platforms are surfacing of malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMs), pre-programmed results, vote-buying, coercion among others during the May 9 elections
    Following these, all eyes are now on the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) days after the partial and unofficial tally of the election results came out.
    But contrary to the knowledge of many, according to an article by Dhel Nazario, “the poll watchdog was not conducting a manual vote count but rather a parallel count.”
    Nazario quoted PPCRV spokesperson lawyer Vann Dela Cruz, “it’s done by matching the electronically transmitted election returns (ERs) with the physically printed ones which were both generated by the VCMs. But since there was already a reliable source of transmitted ERs such as the transparency server and the canvass being conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), then why was there a need for a parallel count?”
Dela Cruz said when the Automated Election System (AES) was first introduced, there were skeptics who were wondering if there was a possibility that the numbers transmitted by the VCM can be intercepted. “Once the VCM transmits into the cyberspace, someone might intercept the data. Intercept it, change the figures and once it reaches the server if the VCM only transmitted 10 votes, it may become 20),” he explained.
    The solution was before the VCMs even transmit the election returns, eight pre-transmitted copies will be printed first. One of which will be given to the PPCRV.
    “The election return transmitted by the same VCM, which it printed and sent into the cyberspace to be received by the server…should be a match. That’s the idea,” he said.
A press time, the poll watchdog said it has fully encoded a total of 16,820 election returns (ERs) so far which resulted in a 100 percent match.
    When asked if the match meant there was no discrepancy found, Dela Cruz said that was what the data showed and that they were just sharing it with the public.
    Is the PPCRV the only one who can conduct this unofficial parallel count every election?
    According to Dela Cruz, they’re not. He said other groups may file a petition before the Comelec to become an accredited citizen’s arm.
    Groups must also provide credentials stating that they have the capability such as manpower to do the task, and they are competent enough to receive the fourth copy of the ER
    Are the printed ERs reliable?
During a talk on Friday, May 13, Dela Cruz did a test with the crowd where they determined if the “hash code” written on each ER wherever their place of origins are, is the same; and they were. He explained this means that these came from the same VCMs and programmed with the same source codes.
    The poll watchdog has so far reportedly received 24,640 ERs.
    Most of the ERs came from the National Capital Region (NCR), certain provinces of Luzon particularly in Pangasinan, Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, Ilocos Norte, Sorsogon, and the province of Rizal. There were also ERs that came from Mindanao, which were from Misamis Oriental. They have not yet processed ERs from Visayas.
Meanwhile, a PPCRV official on Thursday, May 12, reiterated the church-based poll watchdog’s task was to compare physical election returns to the electronically-transmitted ones and not recount the tally of votes for the May 2022 polls.
    “Others are thinking that we are recounting. That is not in the law and it is not what we are doing. It can be done, but that is not our mandate and that is not what is in the law. We do not recount but compare),” said PPCRV spokesperson Atty. Vann Dela Cruz in a press briefing on Thursday, May 12.
    He said as mandated by the law, the PPCRV receives the fourth copy of the pre-transmitted ERs. Dela Cruz explained that these “pre-transmission physical ERS” will be compared to the electronically-transmitted ones.
In relation to this, a total of 24,640 ERs have reportedly arrived at PPCRV’s command center in the University of Santo Tomas as of 11:20 a.m on Thursday. Of these ERS, only 16,820 have been fully-encoded.
    “These fully-encoded ERs have been matched or validated with the electronic transmission and the first batch of validation yielded 100% match,” said Dela Cruz.
    The expert debunked circulating claims that there had been chaos at PPCRV’s command center.
    “We are in a good situation here and we do not see any disturbance. We are calm here at PPCRV. We continue to do this and we continue to receive ERs, we continue to validate, and we continue to match results,” added Dela Cruz.
Despite numerous reports that surfaced on social media during election day on May 9 regarding malfunctioning VCMs, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) maintained that no voter disenfranchisement occurred.
    In a press briefing earlier on Tuesday, May 10, Comelec Acting Spokesperson John Rex C. Laudiangco said that they did not even need to extend the voting hours since they “delivered their commitment” since those who lined up at 7 p.m. they were allowed to vote no matter how long it took.
    He mentioned that all the lessons learned during the conduct of the May 2022 elections will be taken into the consideration of the poll body to make sure that the next elections in 2025 will be better.
On the other hand, Commissioner Marlon Casquejo stated that the malfunctioning VCMs that were encountered on election day were not significant as compared to 2019, stating that over 5,000 machines had problems during that time.
    For this election, he said that 915 machines encountered problems. He added that it will be computed and multiplied for example to at least 500 registered voters, it’s significantly smaller than the 64 million plus registered voters.
    “We all know that machines have glitches. There’s no such thing as perfect system. Especially machines. Even cellphones like iPhones or any high-end cellphone might freeze,” he said.
    “Things as such as those really happen and out of 106,000 only 900 malfunctioned and there’s a reason behind it,” he added.
    What’s important, he explained, is that the said glitches do not affect election results. Casquejo stated that this may be the last time that the said VCMs will be used and for the next elections in 2025, they may ask Congress to lease out new VCMs or any machine or technology that is allowed that can do the job.
    Meanwhile, according to reports, people were not that convinced of poll results due to speculations aired on social media that for one, an IT expert from China headed a group that pre-programmed vote machines, thus the huge gap of votes between presidential contenders Bongbong Marcos and Leni Robredo.
    People were also wondering why there were no victory parties or wild dancing on the streets.   


Magalong bullish on dev’t plans after fresh mandate


Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – After receiving fresh mandate as Baguio City chief executive, Mayor Benjamin Magalong is bullish about the city’s development projects designed to speed up the city’s economic recovery and address issues related to urban decay.
    The mayor in his Ugnayang Panlungsod press briefing May 11 said there is not much change in his developmental goals in the next three years having made sure that the 16 core agenda set forth during his first term were strategic enough to be still relevant and responsive to the needs of the city.
    “Our plans and solutions are very strategic to address our goals to accelerate economic recovery and prevent urban decay or continued destruction of the city’s natural resources.  We remain focused on our 16 core agenda because these are still the call of the times,” the mayor said.
    The 16 core agenda are: Speeding Up Government Actions; Revitalizing the Environment; Innovating Peace and Order Condition; Aggressive Traffic Management; Responsive Education Programs; Empowering the Youth; Expanding Health and Social Services; Responsible Tourism; Enlivened Culture, Arts, Crafts, and Heritage; Market Modernization; Efficient Disaster Management; Empowered and Accountable Barangay Governance; Strengthened Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Services; Poverty Reduction; Resolution of Indigenous People Land Issues; and Happiness.
    The mayor said that for this year, a total of 31 projects are for implementation and almost 12 of them are catalytic projects having significant impact on the environment, economy, services, employment, social and health services which are the city’s new priorities.
    He said special focus will be given on the creation of livable communities in areas that are occupied by informal settlers adopting a novel approach where the beneficiaries will be given the responsibility to plan out their own would-be communities.
    The mayor said some of the projects are designed as economic enterprise to create a revenue stream for the city government apart from tax revenues.
    He said the city’s income has stagnated since 2015and is not enough to counter the effects of inflation and the increase in population.
    “We should not simply rely on taxes and we would not want to burden our people with additional taxes to enable the city to provide the services.  We have to have an income stream and the only is through economic enterprise,” he said.
City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña gave an update on the ongoing Luna Terraces, the first socialized housing project of the city, following a site inspection last week.
    "In a few weeks, we will start with the houses and buildings as it was bid out already.  We are getting there," Dela Peña said.
    Land development is still ongoing for the project located in Irisan barangay.
    "We are proud of this project because it is the first of such kind in the history of Baguio and the city officials led by our mayor Benjamin Magalong worked hard for it despite the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges " Dela Peña said.
    He said the city will continue work our more socialized housing projects to provide a decent place for the approximately 15,000 homeless and deserving families in the city.  The city is still evaluating eight lot offers.
    The Luna Terraces aims to put up a Socialized Permaculture Housing Community financed by the Dept. of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the Dept. of National Housing Authority.
    As per the plan put together by the Plan and Design team headed by the offices of the City Planning and Development, City Engineering and City Buildings and Architecture, two buildings will initially be constructed with 270 units up for award under socialized payment terms to qualified families.
    Beneficiaries will be selected based on criteria now being finalized by the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer. 
     Priority will be given to informal settlers or families residing in danger areas or displaced by natural or human-induced disasters, among other criteria.


Congratulations all.. but


March L. Fianza

The elections are over. The next best thing to do is extend our congratulations to the winners, the losers and the supporters of all the central protagonists in one of the country’s more peaceful and faster voting events.
    Congratulations also to the members of each candidate’s respective families, their relatives, clan and others who went through sleepless nights, unforeseen worries and fears. I have to say this because I knew of a candidate who did not have a family around to absorb the worries and fears that accompany election activities.
    My hats off to reelected congressman Mark Go in Baguio, and so with mayor “BBM” Benjie B. Magalong and vice mayor Tino Olowan who both received fresh mandates to run a city with so many things to rearrange or fix.
    Many happy returns to Ibaloy Baguio councilors Poppo Cosalan, Peter Fianza and Jose “Jomol” Molintas, and not to forget of course reelected councilor Art Alladiw who looks more Ibaloy than his seatmates in City Hall because he gets drunk like one.   
    In Benguet, my best wishes to vice governor-elect Ericson “Tagel” Felipe for showing the best performance that enabled him to gather 101,276 votes against the 68,681 votes of incumbent vice governor Johnny Waguis and board member Jim Botiwey’s 23,197 votes in the partial unofficial results of the May 9 elections.
    The latter two are incumbent provincial officials and friends of mine who were challenged by insan Tagel. I doff my hat to both of them for their professionalism in the performance of their election campaigns.
    Cheers to lawyers Coy Nazarro, Robert Canuto and Ruben Paoad, and my cousin Sander Fianza who will continue to warm their seats in the provincial board along with the other board members.
    Congratulations too to Johnny Galutan, Dr. Cosme Galasgas Jr. and Arnulfo Milo, the “GaGaMi BBMs” team (Galutan-Galasgas-Milo bagong board members) who finished 45 days of being board members.
    My cousin, agriculture expert and college professor Silver Aben, lawyer for farmers Richard Kilaan, Engineers Reny Tabdi and Alex Castaneda, councilor Art Shontogan, IP representative Sario Copas and last but not least Joel Cervantes all deserve special mention.
    All of the above should be the ones to compose the legislative body at the Benguet Capitol. Surely, with these men as lawmakers, the necessary measures will be crafted properly. Yes, there are members of the body who do not know their role.
    My hats off to new mayors Jun Bantales of Kabayan, Fred Dacumos of Sablan, Franklin Smith of Atok, Bernard Waclin of Itogon and Dario Banario of Mankayan who disappointed the incumbent mayors in the democratic process. They should hit the ground running and dodge attempts by higher elected officials to make them “yes men”.
    I raise my glass to mayors Romeo K. Salda of La Trinidad, Bongbong Wales, Armando Lauro of Tublay and Manny Fermin of Kapangan who will serve their third terms for their constituents, and to reelected mayors Cesar Molitas of Kibungan, Clarita Sal-ongan of Tuba, Bill Raymundo of Bakun, Ruben Tindaan of Buguias.
    Congratulations to second term governor Melchor Diclas who scooped 112,345 votes to beat third term board member Robert Namoro’s 64,187 votes and lawyer Jerry Marave who got 15,352 votes. Jerome Wakat got 2,274 votes while Alexander Tadina gathered 828 “very sincere” votes.
    For congressman, I congratulate Itogon Mayor Victor Palangdan who gathered 71,200 genuine votes. I voted for him because he was the most qualified among his rivals, although he lacked the numbers to get over ACT-CIS partylist Rep. Eric Go Yap’s 123,801 votes. Lawyer Sammy Paran garnered 4,457 while 2,162 kind souls voted for Thorsson Keith.
    But I offer Cong. Yap my compliments and respect the democratic process even if the numbers were improbable. I am not the only one who was surprised about how and where he got them. It was like picking up fruits that fell from a tree.
    Besides, I never saw any political leaflets of the man from the south. I was really interested to find out who his parents were, his wife and children, his clan and tribal affiliations just like all the other Igorot candidates in Benguet.
    A politician should introduce his family and affiliations to the public because these are factors that will prevent him from committing shameful irregularities as an elected official.
    While the last electoral exercises were fast and peaceful, there was news about vote-buying everywhere, including parts of Benguet. Who else would do such anomalies other than the new arrivals and unknown who have money to give away?   
    Hence, voters must be wary of politicians who act in unusual ways, appearing to be saints in slippers and tattered maong pants but distributing so much cash during the campaigns. Such acts of extra spending should also raise suspicions as to where the money came from.
    People should be suspicious when a politician unexpectedly becomes kind-hearted and suddenly distributes “ayuda” or “tupad” which are activities in preparation for his candidacy. By receiving dole-outs, we lost our dignity.
    Politicians who are quite clean do not have to spend more than what is necessary to win voters to his side, knowing too that overspending is punishable by law. True, a politician who spends more in his campaign is most likely to steal to regain what he spent.
    Maybe the voters committed a mistake in electing some candidates but then again we have to respect the processes in a democracy. What we can do now is to be vigilant and be prepared because we do not know what we are facing in the days to come.
    Programs and projects should benefit the general public, not “rock-netting”. Projects should be consistent with the priorities listed in the annual investment plan of the barangays, so that people will cooperate.
    Let us hope that there will be no massive corruption. In the words of Atty. Robert Basco, he fears that there might be “monopoly and display of power, total political takeover and god-playing”.


Let’s have complete trust in God


Fr. Roy Cimagala

“FOR the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.” (Jn 3,34) With these words of Christ, we are made to understand that Christ is the word of God who would lead us to eternal life. The immediate conclusion that we can derive from these words is that we should have full trust in God’s providence.
    In a sense, while we try our best to make our own life and to shape it according to our freedom, we need to understand that our life can only be properly lived and can be led to its proper end when conformed to God’s will and ways.
    We need to understand that the ultimate reason we have freedom is for us to freely follow God’s will, for that would constitute the true essence of love which is the essence of God, and which is also meant for us since we have been created in God’s image and likeness. While we have that popular saying, “Like father, like son,” we can also say, “Like God, like man.”
It is for this reason that we should really believe in Christ, since he is “the way, the truth, and the life, no one goes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14,6) That is also why he also said, as if begging us as well as reassuring us, “You believe in God, believe also in me.” (Jn 14,1)
    We cannot deny that all our life, we would always be hounded by our weaknesses, challenges, difficulties, trials, temptations and, of course, our sins, but as long as we go to Christ, things would just be made right. Only in this way can we aspire to be faithful and live in confidence, peace and joy despite whatever.
    We should just strengthen our faith in God through Christ in the Spirit, especially because it is unavoidable that we would encounter in our life forms of hatred, persecution, misunderstanding, and so, we would have to wage continuing struggle.
    Christ already warned us about this. “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also,” he said. (Jn 15,20) In another instance he also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16,33)
    So we need to enliven our faith, always renewing it since we all know that our profession of faith and trust in God, no matter how fervently said, can only go so far. We need to continually renew our faith in order to trust God’s will and ways when we encounter seemingly unbearable predicaments.
    Remember that episode of the apostles in a boat that was about to sink because of the big waves. (cfr. Mt 8,23-27) Christ reproached them for their lack of faith. And in that parable of the wheat and the weeds, (cfr. Mt 13,24-30) Christ was clearly telling them and us that we should just go on doing a lot of good even if we are disturbed by many evils, because in the end Christ would make the proper judgment.
    He assures us that with him we will never work in vain and everything would just work out for the good. (cfr. Is 65,23; Rom 8,28) He assures us that as St. Teresa of Avila once said, he can write straight with crooked lines.
    The whole idea is that we should just keep a strong faith and trust in God’s will and ways. -- Email: roycimagala@gmail.com


Nutritional needs of the elderlies


Victor Romulo Gallardo Dumaguing MD

First and foremost, the author wish to correct last statement in the past Sunday issue which said “so for the ‘mercury’ tablets sent by well-meaning friends; the word ‘ mercury’ should have been Omega-3-fish oil tablets. There are no mercury tablets.     The message is, since the source of some omega-3 fish oils are from deep sea fishes, where mercury may have settled, a few fish oils might be tainted with HgCl2, and thus it’s safe to bring them to your family doctor for his evaluation.
     As of latest statistics, senior citizens comprise 9% of the 110 million + Filipinos and probably more. Epidemiological studies show that with better medical services and a high awareness of senior citizens of the health benefits of combined sensible dietary choices plus some reasonable mobility exercises, more and more elderlies are enjoying the so-called sunset years of their lives.
     However, certain realities exists. Once a person is officially declared a “senior”- 60 or 65 years old- even those with ideal lifestyles- no vices, good hygiene, restful sleep- there would be significant changes in the different organs of the body.
     For the nutritional needs of the seniors, let’s zero into the digestive process. We are born with about 40,000 taste buds receptors in our tongue, which at 40 years after, there would have been a big decrease in their number, with only sweetness and salty receptors being active, thus old folks prefer those food with the exclusion of other nutrients. Most likely, their dentition Is,- now mostly dentures-false teeth- which if ill-fitting- would affect the mastication(chewing) and thus lessen the appreciation of the texture and taste of the food.
     Absorption of nutrients is also a factor- from the mucosa of the stomach to the small intestines- duodenum, jejunum-where most absorption takes place; ileum, up to colon or large intestines where water is reabsorbed back into the blood, thus explains why most stools are solid or at least, semi-solid.
     Thus, there is the glaring fact that, there are now certain gaps in the nutritional needs of the elderlies and that’s where food supplements can be helpful.
     With the kind permission of our editor, allow me to share with our readers the adult nutritional supplement ENTRASOL Platinum which offers” balanced nutrition” ; to wit, high protein for cell repair and regeneration, 75% whey protein for easy absorption as well as prevention of muscle loss, its 80% inulin-not insulin- is high-fiber which is useful in healthy bowel function, easy regular defecation, and with its 20% beta glucan, would help strengthen the immune system, together with Vitamin C, D, E and the essential Zinc.  For strong bones, aside from Vitamin D, there is also calcium and the presence of magnesium contributes to good functioning of heart muscles. A big bonus is its zero content of trans fat, thus it does not cause lipid problems, like cholesterol or triglycerides.
     The life of every living organism on Earth- humans, animals, plants- is dictated and programmed by our DNA, which includes physiologic-normal- ageing process of the different cells and organs of the human body, which obviously beyond our absolute control. We take consolation with the fact that somehow, we can modify it, even delay its onslaught by lifestyle changes and sensible nutritional choices.
     Hashtags of Entrasol Platinum, “Get More, Be More”. We add, Know More, ask your Doctor!

Covid-19 vaccine technique shows promise for heart disease

Victor Romulo Gallardo Dumaguing, MD

SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS France – A method for delivering genetic material to the body is being tested as a way to repair damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. The ground-breaking research is presented at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biomedicine 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1
    The Covid-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines2 use lipid nanoparticles (tiny fat droplets) to deliver mRNA to the body’s cells. This mRNA instructs the cells to manufacture a dummy spike protein on their surface to mimic the protein on the virus causing Covid-19. The body then mounts an immune response by creating antibodies which can be used if the individual becomes infected with the virus.
    A similar method for mRNA delivery was used in the current study. However, instead of aiming for an immune response, the researchers’ ultimate goal is to instruct the heart’s cells to repair themselves after a heart attack.
    This preliminary study was conducted to determine whether mRNA could be successfully delivered to the heart muscle in lipid nanoparticles. The researchers injected different formulations into the left ventricular wall of mouse hearts during open chest surgery under general anesthesia.
    Twenty-four hours after administration, the mice were sacrificed and the location of mRNA translation was examined.
    The researchers found that mRNA successfully reached the heart cells 24 hours after injection. However, despite injection into the heart, the highest levels of mRNA translation were found in cells of the liver and spleen.
    Study author Dr. Clara Labonia of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands said: “High expression was expected in the liver, since it metabolizes the lipid nanoparticles. Nonetheless, it was encouraging to see that there was mRNA translation in the heart tissue which means that lipid nanoparticles could work as delivery systems for mRNA therapy.”
    She concluded: “The next step of this research is to test more formulations and choose the one which most efficiently targets the heart tissue. We will then assess whether delivery of mRNA to mice with ischaemic hearts (resembling a heart attack) has any therapeutic effect
    The Covid 19 vaccines formulated along mRNA platform are Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are approved by our FDA for primary- lst and 2nd dose vaccines_ as well as for the lst and 2nd booster doses. It used to be that only the citizens of developed or the so-called First World countries who suffered from cardiovascular diseases. The sad reality is that  people in developing or shall we say, economically-struggling nations  are now suffering from the same malady, whether in the form of acute myocardial infarction-heart attack- or congestive heart failure, secondary to uncontrolled blood pressure and problematic blood sugar issues. Thus, the world anticipates the positive results of more researches and clinical trials with mRNA Covid vaccines for a healthier and more energetic hearts for everyone.


Baguio vagrant who roamed streets 34 years rehabilitated


Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY -- - A long-time vagrant used to roaming city streets was rescued and successfully rehabilitated through joint government-private efforts led by mental health advocate Ricky Ducas of the Baguio City Health Services Office Mental Health Program unit.
    Nanay Calteya, 64, is now happily living with her family in a home built by her family for her away from the streets she inhabited for 34 years.  
    It took nine months of whole-hearted efforts from both the government and the private sectors for her to be reintegrated to the community.
    “Ngayon si Nanay Calteya ay nag-aalaga ng apo, nagluluto, naglalaba at nakikisimba.  Tumatawa, nagbibiro at higit sa lahat nanumbalik ang ilan niyang ala-ala.  Na-enroll na rin si nanay bilang senior citizen at may social pension pa siya,” Ducas said.
    “Tuloy-tuloy ang gamutan.  Monthly and kanyang monitoring at nabibigyan natin ng ‘piskao ken bagas lang’ (tuyo at bigas lang) na unang na sambit niya sa akin noong tinanong ko kung ano ang kanyang gusto,” he added.
    Ducas said he made it his mission to rescue Nanay Calteya after observing her daily and being reminded of a lesson he learned from his St. Louis University (SLU) nursing course that “we may have a lot of injustices but everyone deserves to die with dignity.”
    His resolve was fanned after seeing her in a social media meme captioned, “Hindi ka taga- Baguio kung hindi mo siya kilala.”
    “I was hurt but took it as a challenge.  Matanda na si nanay, at noong kasagsagan ng pandemya wala siyang mapuntahan na mahingian ng pagkain pero salamat sa mga nag-magandang loob na siya ay bigyan,” he said.
    The rescue took a month of planning and resource building with the help of various government offices and private groups and individuals.
    “We conducted a concert-for-a-cause with the private sector July 15 last year for her.  We located her family through the help of the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer (OCSWDO) and we learned that the family had been longing for their loved one to come home and be taken care of by them but was at a loss as to how to do it after several failed attempts,” Ducas related.
    Learning of the rescue, the family even built a modest home for her.
    The operation undertaken at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was not easy.
    “We had to plan it carefully because nanay habitually transfers from one place to another.  We did surveillance and observed her daily and after establishing her routine, we coordinated with her family and the different agencies,” Ducas recounted.
    Coordination was done with the Baguio City Police Office, BCPO-Women’s desk, OCSWDO, Baguio General Hospital Medical Center Psychiatry Mental Health Support and Services, Baguio City Health Services Office, Baguio City Emergency Medical Service-BCEMS and Anxiety and Depression Support Group- Baguio City Board Members.
    The rescue was a success and the next step of the mission was the clinical and medication stage.
    “Through the help of the private partner, TG Homes Apartelle, nanay was given a temporary accommodation to bathe and sleep in while waiting for the result of her swab test and admission to the BGHM Psychiatry Department,” he said.
    She stayed in the hospital for a month under the care of her senior citizen brother with their needs supplied through the help of volunteers until her discharge to the community.
    “Anak na din ang tawag niya sa akin at sobrang saya ng pakiramdam na nagawa natin ang akala natin ay imposible. Sa tulong ng Dios at kayo na may puso na gawin akong tulay sa mga tulad nila. Iyaman! Sumya tako!,” Ducas said issuing a challenge: “Sana magawa natin ito sa lahat ng mga nasa lansangan na may psychosocial disability subalit una sa lahat dapat merong pamilya na handang yumakap muli sa mga tulad nila. Dahil may awa ang May Likha at maraming tao ang handang tumulong sa inyong kapamilya,” Ducas said.
    (As part of the strategies on the early detection of mental disorders among individuals, the CHSO made available a helpline that could be immediately contacted by people suffering from mental disorders open from 8am to 5pm: 09190696361.
    Beyond said hours, people can reach the National Center for Mental Health 24/7 hotlines: 09178998727; 09663514518; 09086392672.)


True Benguet representation


March L. Fianza

(last of two parts)    

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet --It appears that LGU officials from the provincial level down to the barangays have compromised Benguet. From the looks of it and from what we have been hearing from barangay, municipal and provincial officials; they are supporting legislative caretaker Eric Yap because of financial assistance that they received for personal benefit or otherwise.
    In the world of politics, there are individuals who offer services by moving around doling out cash because that is what they do in private and public life. Money begets money. Pay as much to win a seat in congress, and collect as much or even more than what was spent.
    Benguet is not negotiable. I am sorry for saying, but the action of the sitting provincial board in adopting Yap as a “son of Benguet” was the fatal step that brought us to where we are now – more divided than in previous elections. Our honorable elected provincial officials, so to speak, created a lion that they cannot kill.
    In the case of ordinary citizens, cash assistance under the Tulong Panghanapuhay Para Sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program of the DOLE had been distributed on several occasions in the presence of the politician from the south. That qualifies as a violation of the anti-EPAL law that DOLE should have disallowed.
    With a scenario like that, it would appear as though the cash being handed out were personal funds of the legislative caretaker. People should be informed that TUPAD is financial aid from the DOLE that would always be given to beneficiaries whoever is congressman or governor.
    Atty. Richard Kilaan who is running for board member in Benguet explained that all government projects that were launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic were financed out of the P13 Trillion fund that the Duterte administration borrowed from different sources. These are people’s money, not from any government official or congressman.
    Be thankful that medical equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic were also delivered to the province. A Molecular Biology Laboratory was built behind the Benguet General Hospital that was named after Yap as he claimed that this was built with his own money.
    A contractor businessman close to former governor Pacalso admitted to this writer that the BeGH Molecular Lab was funded and constructed by one of their friends in the construction business. Who deceived who?
    In a news report, he claimed that he did not know the hospital management named the laboratory after him, although pictures showed him holding up a sign that read: “Benguet General Hospital Molecular Biology Laboratory Eric Yap Building.” Pictures do not lie.
    As chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, Yap increased the funding for public works in Benguet from P1.929 billion in 2020 to P9.578 billion in 2021. Thank you but concerned persons in the construction business are not taking this lightly as they want to know where the amounts were spent.
    The Benguet caretaker congressman reported that more funds for infrastructure projects in the province will help employ those who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, all that came after that news report were multi-million rock-netting projects that were being built allegedly in consideration of a 40 percent share deducted from the gross.
    Yap’s supporters boasted that the legislative caretaker had put in more infrastructure funds surpassing the funds during the watch of former congressmen Samuel Dangwa and Cosalan. But a district engineer from another region who requested that his name be withheld for obvious reasons came to the DPWH’s rescue.
    In October 2021, the engineer sent me a text message saying: “with DPWH funds during Cong. Cosalan’s term, one would see paved roads instead of rocknets”. The truth is that P10B under Yap’s watch could have constructed hundreds of kilometers of good roads and hard infra that Benguet really needed. Instead, we see dozens of rocknets worth a total of billions.
    One newspaper account said Benguet caretaker congressman Yap also filed House Bill 7778 on September 27, 2020 pushing for the establishment of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera. Indeed, Congressman Yap showed respect to the clamor of the people of the Cordillera.
    When this will be debated in Congress, Yap cannot discuss the items in the bill because he has not participated in public consultations and research since 1988. He cannot even answer questions about Kankaneys, Ibaloys and Kalanguyas in Benguet because he does not know these ethnicities.
    It is not as simple as getting enough money for his district or having connections especially after a new administration sets in. Certainly, a real congressman and true representative of any community has to know the ways of life of the people he represents. He has to speak and understand their languages, otherwise he cannot represent Benguet.
    On the other hand, Mayor Palangdan was described as the underdog in his bid for congress as compared to Yap who claimed he has the connections in congress and has money to dole out for his mayors, barangay chairmen and supporters. 
    But Palangdan, according to Cosalan and other Benguet leaders who endorsed him said, the retired Benguet prosecutor and three-term mayor evidently has more training and experience in government service than Yap whose most visible qualification is to dole out money.
    Palangdan also served as Beneco board president and it was during his term when 100% of barangays in the province were fully energized. As mayor, he was instrumental in the collection of National Wealth Tax from Philex Mining Corporation amounting to P200M which was divided equally by and between Itogon and Tuba.
    Palangdan started government work at the Provincial Agriculturist Office, working with the late former Vice Governor Robert Tindaan. As lawyer, electric cooperative director, miner and farmer; he knew the issues that were troubling the province.
    Honestly, it worries me why Yap is running in Benguet and not in Mindanao. I feel that there is something morally wrong in voting for a candidate we do not identify with. Imagine a province represented in congress by one whose family background which includes his wife, children and associates are unknown.
    Will Benguet vote for someone they do not know? If yes, I am quite sure that the province will be ill-famed and be put on the Philippine map because it will become the country’s laughing stock.  
    By the way, I learned that whether people were for local or national candidates, many preferred to be resilient and move forward rather than be stuck on receiving occasional dole outs.
    This does not mean snubbing aid of any kind, but the good thing in stopping dole outs can provide the voter better values and assurances of a better future. As the saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


2 holduppers slain, 3 hurt in gunfight with Kalinga police

>> Friday, May 6, 2022

Syndicate operating in Regions 1,2,3 

By Aldwin Quitasol

TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Two alleged holdup gangmen were killed while three of their companions were seriously wounded after they engaged police in a gunfight here Thursday morning, April 28 around 9:45 a.m. in Barangay Malalao.
    A Police Regional Office Cordillera report said Task Force "Limbas" personnel coordinated with Tabuk City Police Station regarding presence of a criminal group involved in robbery hold-up operating in Regions 2, 3 and 4 and transport of marijuana was sighted here.
    Together with PROCor personnel, Criminal and Investigation Group (CIDG) Kalinga-Apayao and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Cordillera, the task force conducted surveillance operation and set-up a checkpoint.
    While operating units were conducting checkpoint here along Barangay Bulo, a gray-black car reportedly disregarded cops and sped off trying to hit personnel manning the checkpoint. 
    Law enforcers said the five men onboard the vehicle pointed a gun at them prompting them to the latter until they reached Malalao, Tabuk City.
    A shootout ensued resulting to instant death of two suspects.
    Three of their companions sustained gunshot wounds and were rushed to Mejia Kim Hospital here in Barangay Agbannawag for treatment.
    The police were not able to identify the names of the suspects at press time.


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