Police manhunt operations on: Kalinga vice gov's "killer" identified

>> Saturday, April 21, 2007

TABUK, Kalinga – Police have launched a manhunt for a certain Joel Melod, 24, tagged as principal suspect in the killing of incumbent vice governor and gubernatorial candidate Rommel Wandag Diasen even as the Commission on Elections is currently determining if the municipalities of Pinukpuk, Pasil, Lubuagan, and Tanudan, all in this province, are to be declared “areas of immediate concerns” in connection with the May 14 Elections.

To hasten investigation of the case, Task Group Diasen was immediately organized by the Philippine National Police Regional Office with Kalinga Police Director Severino Cruz as head of the team.

Cruz is being assisted by Senior Supt. Wilfredo Franco. The team held a meeting last April 9 and later held a dialogue with Tabuk Mayor Camillo Lammawin Jr., Floydelia Diasen, and Gov Dominador Belac Sr.

The case conference, interview of witnesses, and dialogues, the police said, resulted in the preparation of an artist’s sketch of the alleged gunman.

Cruz said the motive of the killing is still unknown even as police are negotiating the surrender of the suspect.

Diasen, 58, was shot last April 7 in Barangay Magnao, Tabuk, Kalinga while he was delivering a speech during a campaign sortie.

He was taken to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital but died at about 2:45 p.m. of the same day.

This, as tribal vendetta, aside from politics, is still being investigated by authorities as motive in the killing of Diasen.

Regional police spokesman Supt. Joseph Adnol said police probing Diasen’s killing had noted the assassination of former Judge Milnar Lammawin two years ago which they believed also stemmed from tribal disputes.

Lammawin was killed by gunmen from Mountain Province where Diasen has his native roots.

Although a long-time resident of Tabuk, Kalinga, where he served as town mayor for three consecutive terms since 1986, Diasen is a native of Mountain Province.

Adnol said Diasen, incumbent vice governor of the province, was killed in the village where some of the relatives of Lammawin also live.

Diasen, the gubernatorial bet of administration Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, was allegedly shot at close range by Melod.

The suspect, armed with Cal. 45 pistol, went up the stage where Diasen was delivering a speech and shot him six times at close range in the head and body.

Meanwhile, Provincial Election Officer Attorney Thomas Uyam said there had been reports of ballot snatching and threats in the four municipalities Pinukpuk, Pasil, Lubuagan, and Tanudan, in the 2004 local elections, prompting the Comelec to include the areas in the list of areas of immediate concerns.

Asked if Tabuk is to be included in the list due to the recent killing of Diasen, Uyam said that it is a possibility, because the incident is already a manifestation that there is the presence of armed threat in the locality.

He said a place could be identified as an area of immediate concerns if there are manifestation of armed threats such as the reports of loose fire arms, insurgency, coercion or ballot snatching.

He said the Philippine National Police could recommend a place as an area of immediate concerns if there are manifestations of armed threat and that the PNP needs to augment its forces to ensure the security and peace at the area.

In a related development, Comelec Commissioner Resurrection Borra, during a recent press briefing, said commissioners and other election field officers will conduct filed visit if there are areas to be placed under Comelec control.

The move came after the killing of Diasen and Petronilo Amorin Jr., the poll officer in Palawan province.

He said commissioners and other field officers would assess the peace and order situation in these places.


Tribal folk mourn death of US Peace Corps volunteer


BANAUE, Ifugao – Peace Corps Volunteer Julia Campbell of Fairfax, Virginia, US, who disappeared on April 8 while hiking here near Barangay Battad may have left for the Great Beyond but for those whose lives she touched, the vibrant humanitarian would always be in their hearts.

Tribal folk mourned her death even as local officials cited the contributions Campbell did to make the province and other sites in the Philippines better places to stay in through her work.

Campbell’s body is now interred in a Makati funeral parlor awaiting the arrival of US forensic experts to conduct an autopsy.

This, as Cordillera Regional police director Chief Supt. Raul Gonzales said Campbell could have been a victim of foul play citing robbery as motive.

US Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter, along with the U.S. Embassy in Manila, confirmed her death after search parties discovered her body buried in a cliff near a creek and below a pathway near Batad, Banaue on Thursday.

Campbell and other Peace Corps personnel arrived in Banaue from Sagada, Mountain Province on April 8. On same date, the other Peace Corps members left for Manila while Campbell stayed behind saying she would follow the next day as she made a bus reservation for the trip.

At about 2 p.m. the same day, Campbell proceeded to Batad aboard a tricycle and was last seen at about 5 p.m. at the viewpoint of the barangay by a store owner who served her soft drinks.
Search and rescue operation began on April 13 by police, civilians and tourist guides who scoured the precipices of the area and two other adjacent barangays but with negative results.

On April 15, two helicopters from the Philippine Air Force also joined in the search and rescue operation together with the Philippine Army and US Embassy personnel who arrived under Jake Wohlman.

The manhunt continued the next day but since the missing American couldn’t be located, a conference was held presided by personnel of the US Embassy who presented a tactical and intensive search and rescue plan.

On April 17, Cordillera Police Regional Director Raul Gonzales came to the province with two police choppers and conducted aerial surveillance in the area.

He was later joined by US Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschtter, Philippine Peace Corps Director Carl Beck and Deputy Chief of Mission Paul Jones who monitored the development of the search and rescue activity.

On April 18, the body of the victim was found which was verified by American Embassy people to be that of Campbell.

After some hours of hesitation whether to dig the cadaver, the US Embassy personnel gave permission to exhume and retrieve the body of the victim while awaiting the arrival of a forensic expert and pathologists they called to determine the cause of her death.

The forensic expert was scheduled to come from Japan while the two pathologists will come from the USA to conduct the autopsy.

Even though there was no finding yet of the cause of death of the victim, there was strong indication that Campbell was a victim of foul play as she was buried in a concealed place.
Even assuming that she fell, the height of the cliff cannot cause her death, local folk said.
Ifugao Police Provincial Commander Senior Supt. Pedro Ganir recommended exhaustive investigation to determine cause of her death.

Campbell’s body was still being autopsied in Manila at press time.

Peace Corps Director Tschetter, who was in the Philippines expressed his sorrow at learning the news. “Julia was a proud member of the Peace Corps family, and she contributed greatly to the lives of Filipino citizens in Donsol, Sorsogon, where she served,” he said in a press statement.

“The U.S. Peace Corps is saddened by the loss of such a dedicated and vibrant volunteer, who so loved this country. Our hearts go out to her family and friends in the United States.”

The press statement said Campbell was reported missing on April 11 after failing to show up for several appointments. She was last seen on April 8 in the Banaue area. She reportedly intended to hike in a hilly area near Batad, 1.5 kilometers east of Banaue town, and was unaccompanied.

Supt. Joseph Adnol, Cordillera police spokesman said Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Calderon earlier directed Cordillera police commander Chief Supt. Raul Gonzales to activate the region’s Crisis Management Committee to ensure coordinated police and civilian search and rescue efforts.

Adnol said there was no indication that New People’s Army rebels were behind Campbell’s disappearance.

“We are looking into possible accident or crime angle,” he said.

Adnol said the Ifugao Police’s Provincial Mobile Groups earlier fanned out to several barangays in Batad, where Campbell was last seen.

Tschetter had traveled to the Banaue area with U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Paul W. Jones on April 17 to meet with American and Filipino authorities involved in the search.

The Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy expressed their deep gratitude to the Filipino people for their assistance in the search.

“The search efforts organized by the Philippine National Police were incredible,” said Chargé Jones in a press statement. “Thank you to the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the local and provincial governments in the Banaue area, and the many local guides and volunteers who spent countless hours searching for Julia in difficult terrain. The American people are very thankful for your friendship during this difficult time.”

Tschetter and Chargé Jones met with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday to thank her for the partnership and efforts of the Filipino people in searching for Campbell.

President Arroyo along with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo, Secretary of National Defense Hermogenes Ebdane, and Calderon, committed their full support to the investigation.
Campbell served in ecological and educational projects in Southern Luzon since she began her Peace Corps service in the Philippines in March 2005.

There are 136 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the country. More than 8,000 Volunteers have served in the Philippines since 1961, making it the second oldest Peace Corps program in the world.

Meanwhile, the US embassy released a statement on behalf of Campbell’s family: “Today, we learned the news that our Julia was found. We are so very grateful to the workers and searchers who worked diligently to look for and find our daughter, sister and friend. In addition to the Peace Corps, we would like to thank the Philippine National Police, the Philippine government and the people of the Philippines, especially those in Baranguay Batad, Banaue for the outpouring of support and assistance in the search.

“The U.S. Peace Corps and our U.S. Embassy leadership, personnel and especially the Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines have been of great comfort to our family during this difficult time. Director Ron Tschetter and his team exemplify the sense of community Julia loved about the Peace Corps; they have and continue to show great concern for Julia and our family.

“During the past two years Julia has been on assignment in the Philippines, she served in various roles in the village of Donsol (province of Sorsogon) where she worked with the local school there to rebuild and stock the school library. Since childhood, Julia was an avid reader who enjoyed great literary works; “Sophie’s Choice” was one of her favorites.

“Many of her friends and family helped her in a campaign she created to provide age-appropriate reading materials to the library in a project she called "A Book and A Buck".
Through her efforts, she collected more than 500 titles. Julia, a passionate yoga instructor and vegetarian, also worked with the local community to launch an ecology awareness campaign and instrumental in building an Eco Center in Donsol. Most recently, she served as a teacher at the Divine Word College in Legaspi city, where she taught English.

“In her forty years, Julia lived a very full life. She loved her family and friends and is much loved. She was passionate in her journalism reporting especially the stories involving people who were able to stand and address adversity or adverse situations.

“We have every confidence that the U.S. and Philippine authorities are conducting a thorough investigation into Julia’s untimely death. Plans are still in development for a memorial service in Fairfax County, Virginia where our family lives.”


Isabela mayoral winner unclear


RAMON, Isabela – The Commission on Elections still has to determine the real winner in this town’s 2004 mayoral race with barely less than a month before the May 14 elections.

In a 15-page en banc order dated April 12, the Comelec created a new municipal board of canvassers composed of Manila-based lawyers who conducted re-canvassing of 41 election returns in 2004 mayoral race at the poll body’s main office in Intramuros, Manila on April 17.

After the re-canvassing, expected to be completed within the day, the Comelec directed the new board, chaired by Elizabeth Sarmiento, to immediately proclaim the duly elected mayor but this was not known at presstime.

The Comelec en banc issued the order after it affirmed the earlier decision of its first division declaring the proclamation of Mayor Wilfredo Tabag “illegal” and dismissing his motion to prevent the re-canvassing of the contested election returns.

The poll body ruled “technicalities” raised by Tabag opposing the re-canvassing, as petitioned by his rival, Raymond Espidol, “should not frustrate the determination of the popular will.”

Espidol was ousted as Ramon mayor in July last year after losing in what the Comelec’s first division described as “fraud-marred” recount conducted here by the former municipal board of canvasser led by lawyer Jerbee Cortez, election officer of Santiago City.

It its resolution last January, the Comelec’s first division declared Tabag’s proclamation null and void, saying the votes credited to him were obtained through “fraudulent” means.

It considered Tabag’s proclamation by the former canvassing board as illegal due to “totally spurious, grossly substituted and clearly manufacture” election returns.

The poll body ordered the re-canvassing after the first division discovered spurious election return favoring Tabag, subverting what it said were the genuine and credible results of the 2004 mayoral election.

The election returns re-canvassed by the former municipal board of canvassers, which became the basis for Tabag’s proclamation, did not match the original copies of the same documents that showed Espidol the legitimate winner in the 2004 election, the Comelec said.

After the May 10, 2004 election, Espidol was proclaimed the duly elected mayor with 8,647 votes against Tabag’s 6,635, or a margin of 2,012.

However, the following year, the former municipal board of canvassers led by Corteza conducted a recount, this time showing Tabag winning with 8,228 votes against Espidol’s 6,916 votes.

The Comelec’s first division described Tabag’s proclamation as “brazen act of tampering with the results of the election (and) reveals the existence of an organized syndicate, which no doubt required the participation of Comelec personnel.”


Cops probe reports on Abra vote-buying

BANGUED, Abra – Vote-buying has started in this conflict-stricken province even as police said they were still investigating reports at least P70.3 million has already been distributed to constituents by politicians.

Sources said supporters of candidates are still offering or have distributed P500 for each voter in exchange for their votes for their candidates in the May 14 elections.

But police said they have yet to take from any concerned citizen a sworn affidavit attesting that vote-buying is rampant in this province which is one of the areas closely monitored by the Commission on Elections, the police, and the military.

The report on rampant vote-buying surfaced when Comelec officials, police and military officers and concerned groups and citizens held recently a forum here.

Chief Supt. Eugene Martin, commander of Task Force Abra, said concerned citizens surmised that the P500 pay per vote could be increased if other politicians offer a higher price.

Comelec records showed there are 140,634 registered voters in the province in the May elections.

If each voter is given P500, the money spent for vote-buying would amount to P70.3 million.

Comelec officials here advised witnesses to prepare sworn statements and substantiate their allegation so that cases could be filed against politicians and supporters involved in such illegal act.

Martin had confirmed that in the 2004 elections, government employees, including department heads, had reportedly participated in massive vote-buying conducted by some politicians.

The policemen have written to the Civil Service Commission a letter seeking its participation in monitoring the activities of government employees in the May polls.

Supt. Alexander Pumecha, director of the Abra Provincial Police Office, said if witnesses are afraid to execute affidavits, they could call policemen who could respond swiftly and arrest the persons engaged in vote-buying.

It was learned that there is a possibility that the money being used in vote-buying is fake. Authorities had earlier raised concern about the reportedly rampant use of counterfeit bills in the mid-term elections.

Martin appealed to the people of Abra to cooperate with the police and report violations of election laws.

He said any request from politicians for security escort would undergo assessment before this could be recommended for approval.


2 Lapid supporters shot, hurt; cops probing case


SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Police are still looking for perpetrators in the shooting of two men posting campaign materials for re-electionist Gov. Mark Lapid who were shot and wounded in Lubao town recently.

This developed as non-Catholic supporters of priest-turned-independent gubernatorial candidate Fr. Eddie Panlilio joined his team of “prayer warriors” amid a purported “Oplan Gomburza” to assassinate him.

Lapid’s camp said the governor’s two supporters were shot night of Holy Wednesday but reported the incident only the other day.

Records at the Pampanga Medical Specialists Center in Guaga town confirmed that the two, aged 21 and 31, sustained bullet wounds in the back and nape, respectively, and were released from the hospital on Easter Sunday.

The victim’s identities were known by newsmen but Lapid requested that they not be named upon their wishes.

Lapid said the victims did not report the incident to the police because they feared for the lives.

“While I have instructed my legal team to get a full report of the incident, we have to temporarily respect the wishes of the victims (to remain unidentified),” he said.

Lapid said a man on board a van shot his two supporters with a Cal. 22 pistol while they were posting campaign materials in Barangay San Roque Dau in Lubao, hometown of Lapid’s rival, provincial board member Lilia Pineda.

Lapid cited reports that his campaign leaders in Arayat, Masantol, Lubao, Mexico and Bacolor towns have been receiving threats.

He called on all candidates to abide by the peace covenant they signed in the presence of Archbishop Paciano Aniceto at the San Fernando Cathedral last week.

“A number of our leaders in several towns have received death threats either through mail or text messages. There seems to be a pervading pattern of intimidation, and this does not bid well for peaceful and clean elections,” he said.

“We will stand by our leaders and supporters and will use all legal means to protect them,” he said. “I also call on our people to be extra-vigilant and report to us and the proper authorities any attempt to thwart the will of the electorate of our province.”


Case of mayoral bets puzzles Comelec


BAGUIO CITY – The Commission on Elections regional office here is in a quandary over a question of whether votes for the mayoralty position with only the surname “Bautista” would be credited to Acting City Mayor Reinaldo A. Bautista or to former councilor Virgilio F. Bautista.

Comelec Resolution No. 3743, the edict on the issue, states if there are two or more candidates with the same full name or surname, and one of them is the incumbent, and on the ballot is written only such full name, first name or surname, the votes are to be counted in favor of the incumbent.

Lawyer Armando Velasco, Cordillera director of the Comelec, said it is a gray area in the case at hand, noting that the incumbent mayor of this mountain resort city is still Mayor Braulio Yaranon because he is just suspended for a period of one year in connection with charges for grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority and oppression.

He said suspension does not remove one as a mayor or from an elected position.

Yaranon, who won in the 2004 elections, was suspended by the Office of the President on June 26, 2006 for a period of one year.

Vice Mayor Bautista assumed Yaranon’s post and formally took his oath on Aug. 30, 2006.

Velasco said it is a matter of interpretation of the Comelec resolution, but he is still not sure if the officer-in-charge is considered an incumbent official.

If acting mayor Bautista is not declared as the incumbent mayor by the Comelec, both of the Bautistas running of the same position would not be credited with the votes cast by voters who simply write “Bautista” in the ballots.

Former councilor Virgilio Bautista said that it is up to the Comelec to decide, but as far as he is concerned, the rule favoring the incumbent does not apply to the case.

Velasco also clarified the Comelec’s stand on another mayoralty candidate, Felipe Ramos, who has been consistently filing his candidacy for the mayor in Baguio.

He noted nobody has filed a disqualification petition against Ramos because no one of the mayoralty bets cares or dares to file such petition.

Only qualified mayoralty bets can file a petition to declare Ramos a nuisance candidate, he said.


llocos mayoral bet's husband shot, hurt


CANDON CITY -- A district engineer, who is the husband of the mayoralty candidate in San Juan, Ilocos Sur, was critically wounded when he was shot by unidentified men in broad daylight in his office in Barangay San Nicholas here at noon on April 17.
Senior Supt. George Tolentino Regis, Ilocs Sur police director, identified the victim as Percival Bitonio, 57, OIC-district Engineer of 2nd Engineering District Office of Ilocos Sur based in San Nicholas, Candon City.

He is a resident of Barangay Bannaur, San Juan, Ilocos Sur. The victim is the husband of San Juan mayoralty candidate Amelia Bitonio, who is running as an independent bet.
Regis said the shooting happened about 12:45 noon. Two, unidentified men suddenly entered
the office of the victim and shot him while he was inside the comfort room.

He was hit in the left eyebrow. The assailants fled immediately. Policemen took the wounded victim immediately to the Candon City Hospital.

He was later transferred to Lorma Medical Center in San Fernando City, La Union for further treatment.

Police found one empty shell and one slug of Cal. 45 bullet at the crime scene. “We are conducting follow-up investigation on the incident, “ Regis said.

He said they have yet to determine the motive of the shooting. It could be either work-related or politically motivated, he said.



Senseless deaths

It is alarming that killings are on the rise in this country based from statistics complied by non-government organizations. Killings are being done to perpetuate power, gain riches or for revenge. It is a pity that a lot of innocent folk are getting caught in the web of violence. People are being killed on account of their ideological beliefs or for espousing their rights.

People are being senselessly killed even over a cell phone. One of the latest headline news says 31 teens were killed by a deranged teenager in the US. Another headline says there could have been foul play in the death of Julia Campbell, US Peace Corps volunteer who was found dead in a cliff of remote barangay in Banaue, Ifugao where she went for a hike. Senseless deaths.

It is a pity when upright, young people in the prime of their life with a rosy future suddenly die. It is a warning that the Grim Reaper is just around the corner – a reminder that one could die anytime. Death is the great equalizer. Whether one is rich, poor, young, old, powerful or powerless, one could be placed in a casket anytime due to natural or violent means.

Indeed, what use is money if one is inside a cold, hard casket? Right after the Lenten Season, a time for reflection, killings have been on the rise. There is a need for the State and its law enforcement agencies like the police to institute better policies to stop or lessen the wave of crimes like killings.

It is no wonder pro-gun groups are strongly coming out in the open saying citizens should arm themselves if they feel they can’t be protected by law enforcers. But there is no need for constituents to arm themselves. Guns should be taken out from civilians. A coward who has a gun thinks he is powerful. Only the police and other law enforcement agencies should be allowed to hold guns.

The US, which has liberal laws on gun possession has actually one of the highest statistics on number of people being killed by guns. It is high time laws on gun possession are reviewed.

Going after grafters
President Arroyo has created a “committee of peers” within her Cabinet to investigate seemingly neglected graft charges against presidential appointees with Cabinet rank. The President and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita created the committee that would apparently have more power in investigating graft cases against officials with Cabinet rank than the Presidential anti-Graft Commission.

According to Ermita, the President wanted to have more than one body investigating allegations of corruption by Cabinet-level officials amidst lingering issues of corruption being used by the Genuine Opposition in its election campaign against administration candidates.

The new committee against high-level corruption would apparently have more power than the PAGC which had been facing allegations of protecting high-level presidential appointees in its investigations on their graft charges.

Now, the new committee is supposed to come up with new rules to ensure that the grafters would be prosecuted. The government’s announcement that it would be going after the grafters is getting snickers from the opposition. The administration better show it means business by “catching” big time fishes or the pundits would just say – “OK once more with feelings.”



Melody of Faith
by Alfred P. Dizon

(Jerry Baclagon writes this week’s column)
For gospel music lover Johnny Sy, retailing gospel songs was his mission. He first heard the call to spread gospel music in 1972, when he saw more than 100,000 people flock to the Rizal Football Stadium to see the three-night concert of a Christian rock band from the United States.
The well-attended event confirmed for him what he knew in his heart was true: many shared his love for contemporary gospel music. Thus Sy painstakingly built his business, going form church to church until 1980, when he put up his first Praise Inc. store. Now he has more than 80 stores nationwide spreading the good news through music.

Faith was the only guidance Sy needed to start the business. He did neither a feasibility study nor a market research. These forecasting tools came later, when Praise was already established. Nevertheless Sy was an entrepreneur by heart for he knew his market: “All I knew was that I love gospel music, and that there were so many people like me whop love Christian music. Gospel music was not widely available in the Philippines then, and I saw a market.”
He also knew his product: Gospel music stood apart from other music genres because it carried the message of hope. “It makes you feel good about yourself and your situation. It helps you believe that you can come out of that situation. This music changes lives.”

After attending a business orientation of Maranatha (a leading Christian record label in the U.S.), Sy acquired some titles, set up tables outside churches and Christian conventions, and sold his music tapes.

After eight years of building connections, competence, and credibility, he decided in 1980 to set up Praise on P200,000 capital to distribute quality internationally and locally produced Christian products like music and video tapes, book and magazines, and gift items.

Praise’s first six months were Sy’s baptism of fire. His capital ran out during this period, had no outlets to display and sell the products, no radio airplay to boost sales (people normally buy what they hear on the radio), and no unity among the many denominations of Christians in the country (people were asking if the music tapes were Catholic or Protestant, Franciscan or Jesuit, and Pentecostal or Baptist). “On the Christian side, particularly in the Philippines, parishioners were very conscious about denominations.”

Sy tried to convince the Christian bookstores to get past the denomination issue and carry his products because they promoted good values and conformed to Biblical teachings. “Our biggest challenge was to educate our market that this is not a denomination-based music, that it is for everybody to enjoy,” says Al Torres, Praise’s music publishing and marketing manager.

While this was going on, Sy and his wife also ventured into the Christian bookstores business and set up Jacob’s Well on Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City, where their entire music catalog was displayed.

Sy was able to recoup his investment in two years when Praise’s catalog grew to more than 50 albums and the market finally accepted gospel music. “Secular stores gave us a permanent space where we could display our products.”

Praise adopted a number of tactics to carve a niche for itself. One it targeted young Christians who liked uplifting, Christian lyrics set to contemporary music. “When we first introduced our products in the market we had a good response among the young people. It came to the point where they were looking for more titles to release,” says Torres.

Two, praise invited foreign contemporary Christian music artists to do concerts in the country. Three, the company went to churches and introduced the songs, which were eventually incorporated in their praise and worship repertoire. Four, it set up Praise Clubs, where members get 10-percent discounts on Praise products, ticket discounts to concerts and seminars, free catalogs, invitations, and quarterly CD samplers.

There are around 7,000 Praise Club members to date. “We achieved growth sometime in 1983 and that was our turning point. The response was phenomenal. That was the time we realized that Praise would be a long-term business.”

Although gospel music has proven its endurance, Praise is still looking for ways to keep up with the times and stay profitable. Almost 40 percent of the company’s business is lost to piracy. To curb this, Praise has launched an educational campaign on piracy and the copyrights law in churches.

“We want to educate our customers regarding the law. Most of them may not be aware that they are violating it, so this is our way of gently rebuking them,” says SY. But as a ministry-based business, Praise is also doing its best to make its products easy on the pocket.



A nation of entrepreneurs
Ike ‘Ka Iking’ Señeres

I think that there is truth to the popular notion that most Chinese are inclined to become entrepreneurs, while most Filipinos would just rather become employees. This is perhaps deeply rooted in our culture, since most parents send their children so that they could earn a diploma to work as employees, but not to go into business for themselves.

Looking closer at this reality however, our perspective could change if we would also change the way we would define what a businessman is, and what it takes for one to become a businessman.

Just to cite an example, we do not usually view jeepney drivers and farmers as businessmen, but a closer look would reveal that these people are actually businessmen also, if only we could change our definitions.

Broadly speaking, I think that we could consider as a businessman anyone who is into business on his own, the exact opposite of being an employee of someone else. With this new definition in mind, let us look at the reality that a jeepney driver (or a taxi driver for that matter) is into business for himself, because he rents a vehicle (his cost of production) in order for him to earn profits (after deducting his other operating costs).
The situation of the farmer is similar to that of the jeepney driver. Except those who are technically farm workers (or employees), farmers are actually businessmen on their own, having a cost of production (rentals and other inputs), and are operating for profit as well. Again due to the effects of wrong (or outdated) interpretations, a farmer who is a tenant is actually a customer of the landlord (being a renter), in much the same way that a jeepney driver is a customer of the operator (being a renter also).
Under the boundary system of the transport industry, a jeepney driver is not actually an employee of the operator, but the wrong culture apparently prevails, because the operator is actually regarded as the boss, seemingly always right, even if the boss should really be the customer (the driver who is the renter) who should always be right.

Due to the influence of the wrong culture, the driver is looked down as being “only” the driver, while the farmer is looked down as being “only” the tenant. Is it not about time that we change these wrong actuations?
Counting only the jeepney drivers and the farmers, and thinking as well of the vendors and fishermen who are legitimate businessmen too in this broadened definition, would that not make small businessmen the majority in this country?

As I see it, this realization should not just be a play of words, but it should require some new legislations and perhaps some restructuring of the government organization to make it real.

To cite an example, it is the Department of Agriculture that now serves the technical needs of farmers, but is it not about tie that the Department of Trade & Industry would also service them as businessmen?
As suggested by my brother Lee who is now a businessman in the United States, I will be organizing a Speaker’s Bureau composed of volunteers who would go around and speak in the graduation ceremonies of high schools all over the country.

Their mission is to persuade the graduating students to take up vocational-technical (voc-tech) courses if they are not going to college, so that they could have their own business right away, and have their own means of livelihood, instead of working as employees.

Of course the choice of going to college or not is actually up to them, but our volunteer speakers would also persuade them to pursue their studies with the goal of becoming businessmen on their own, instead of becoming employees.
Could voc-tech graduates really become businessmen in the real sense as we have redefined it? I think that the answer is yes, in the sense that many skilled professionals are now in business as independent service contractors. Just like all the other businessmen however, they are also facing the challenges of financing, management, technology and marketing, and this is where a re-oriented government could come in to help them, with the assistance of like minded non-government organizations.
Could we possibly become a nation of entrepreneurs? I think that we already are, except that we have not realized it yet. We should all do our part in making all our countrymen make this realization, and on top of that, we should convince our government to readjust its priorities to adopt this new realization. It may sound easier said than done, but it is very doable.
Tune in to "Gulong ng Kabuhayan" on DZXL (558 KHZ) Mon to Fri 6 to 6:45 PM. Join the InterCharity Network. We assist you in looking for a job or in setting up a small business. Email us at ike@kaiking.net or text us at 09175684855.Unit 324, Guadalupe Commercial Complex, EDSA, Makati.



Poems and prayers for rivers and mountains
By March L. Fianza

(Today's column turns left from its usual course to honor Mother Earth for the blessings she has provided every organism that lived on her back. The following contributions were lifted from the internet.)

Protect the MountainsSubmitted by Beth Lapides, author of “Did I Wake You? Haiku’s For Modern Living”I give thanks for the mountain I live by, that drew me to it, magnetized me. I ask for the strength of it. To protect other mountains, which protect us. I offer my heart to the ground disprupted. I wait for guidance to help create the world in which we can live by and with the mountains peacefully. Love to all mountains, and all the valleys that the mountains define.

In this moment and forever more. Forgive us for pillagingMelissa Gee is the assistant director of OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) in Boone, North Carolina, and a West Virginia native. Your Handiwork, which You called good, exists only for and through You, but I thank you for the joy and protection we receive from Your amazing works. The beauty of these mountains leaves me breathless and full of peace.

Every tree, stream, and mountain is exactly where you have placed it. Your all-knowing hand molded this land perfectly. Although we may never know the reasons behind your plan, help us remember that we are living as part of Your Creation. Lord please forgive us for pillaging and not holding dear what belongs to you. I pray that you will open the eyes and hearts of your children and help us turn away from the sin of destruction and use wisely the resources which you have entrusted to us.

Through the Prince of Peace I pray, Amen Stop mountaintop removal Submitted by Beverly, Aaron, and Kaylee Donovan of Burgess, VAFather you see and know that your mountains are being destroyed by a select few. Please guide and direct them to a better way of life. Please bless all the good people who are working to stop mountaintop removal. Please help me be an instrument of your peace.This we pray in Your name, Amen.

Spirit of wind and waterMary Jane Hitt is the pastor at Providence United Presbyterian Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and a West Virginia native.O Divine Spirit, Spirit of wind and water, of mountain and majesty, of all creatures great and small: Hear our prayer of thanksgiving for the world that we take for granted, for your gracious gifts that we do not earn, for the daily blessings that we do not merit; Hear our prayer of confession as we acknowledge our self-absorption, our short-sightedness;our failure to care for all creation; Hear our prayer of supplication for the mountains, and those who love them; for the mountains, and those who live in them; for the mountains, and those who work to preserve and protect them; Bring us to that day when the rivers will clap their hands and the mountains will sing together for joy. Amen.

A bad rap!A poem motivated by the exploitation of the Kentucky hills, submitted by Angelyn DeBord. She is an Appalachian-born and raised storyteller, actress, playwright and workshop leader from Gate City, VA.I think of the children, they’re young and they’re willing, to lift up their wings and to fly.But their way it is tangled, don’t let them be mangled, by the greed that we pass down the line. I lift mine eyes up now unto these hills from whence always my help it has come.I holler, “God help us, Man’s greed it has scalped us, for a strange definition of wealth.”The mountains we love now, God knows they’re our home now, they’ve helped, they’ve held us for years. But the land of our mother is now seeking cover as the bulldozers strip off her crown.

What God has created, Man’s greed’s laid asunder. You can’t build a mountain back up. But our children have voices, let’s raise them to use them, together we can save this land. Yes, together we can save this land.I Just can’t believe itA testimony by Dan Siler of Robbinsville, NCAs I grew up here in NC, mining and hard rock jobs were a common part of my life. I was a part of 4 generations. First, I worked the jack legs underground, then I graduated to operating the air tracks above ground and learned to use powder.Now, building a beautiful road for others to see God's handiwork is one thing. But the absolute and total removal of a mountaintop is wrong.

I don’t care whose standards you judge by. Coal will always play out. My Mom was born in Welch, West Va. and her whole family wound up moving as big coal played out. I have made many trips outta the hole just to watch the power go off. I helped load and seen the tops of mountaintop quarries be removed. And how long, how long before it all lands here in N.C. I just hope there are those who will forgive me for destroying nature. I hope our Creator does!



Pesticide-free farm produce
by Jorge Pawid

Benguet farmers continue to be saddled with insects damaging their agricultural crops aside from poor quality produce unknowingly because of the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Many times have they been hit by crop diseases that have either wiped out their farms or if not resulted in dwarfed and inferior harvests.

Some unschooled and many gullible to the magic wonders that chemical pesticides and fertilizers have done to their old crops, majority of farmers have resorted to the use of these farm inputs. Sometimes excessively, they would even serve their own vegetables or fruits on their own dining tables for their own consumption.

While the effect has brought in big profits, consumers are the innocent victims of the malpractice.

It was only lately that government stepped in to control if not eradicate harmful chemical farm inputs to the extent of labeling them as red, blue and green. Despite the government regulations, the abuse of these products continue.

People, especially housewives doing the market chores are now aware of the ill-effects of excessive chemical use on farm products that they are shifting to other vegetables and fruits they believe are free from pesticides.

Some would prefer vegetables peppered with holes in the belief that if insects survive to devour the plants, then these are free from toxic materials used on the edible plant.

Others prefer to plant their own vegetables and fruits free from any chemical inputs.
Technical experts now believe that agricultural products can survive without any chemical use to increase growth and improve quality. This is the Integrated Pest Management program the government is pushing farmers to adopt.

Concerned leaders and organizations now believe that unless the malpractice of farmers continues, Benguet’s vegetable and fruit industry may very soon collapse.

Already, the effects are showing because of the abuse. Even diseases unheard of before to farmers have now afflicted people residing in and near these farms that have been blanketed with much chemical use on the plants and soil.

Sablan’s once prestigious reputation of being the best banana producer in northern Luzon has been stripped of the title because of a disease that wiped out the industry.

Many vegetable farms along the Mt. Trail in northern Benguet are now threatened by various plant pests that are very difficult to eradicate. An indication that even with new chemical available, the pests have already become immune.

A project designed to use natural predatorial and beneficial insects against the pests is now in place thru concerned efforts of local officials and the academe. Farmers aware of the threat on the local agriculture industry are anxiously awaiting the results of the studies.

We hope the researches are successfully completed ASAP so that we as consumers can now eat pesticide-free agricultural products. It is also our prayer that the illnesses associated with chemical use will soon be a thing of the past.

Let us patronize pesticide-free agricultural produce otherwise called organic food. It is our way of celebrating earth day daily.


Happy Weekend

Kampanya Taktika
by Gina Dizon

I laughed out loud when congressional aspirant Atty. Mauricio Domogan in an interview said “Nu umay ti politika, tiempon ti panag-uulbod.”

With the election campaign now in the heat of the moment, we will expect more promises and lies to come along the way as aspirants will promise this and that and bring the moon down to earth. So dear voters, listen with a discerning ear the sweetly flavored words of the aspiring public official as he woos your votes.

But of course not all these aspiring wanna be’s are lying braggarts or sheepishly looking smug liars. Juan de la Cruz has to be very discerning in how he will separate the full time liar from the white defensive liar, the superficial from the well-meaning one.

Some aspiring public servants are sincere enough to state and if given the chance, do their platform of government. How could we know then the genuine one from the impostor public official, the lesser evil from the bigger evil?

1.Should he/she be an incumbent or former government official, what has he done
during his term? Was he/she able to implement programs as he is mandated to do? Did he initiate pro-people and democratic systems in government for the people to participate in and/or get benefited? Given particular circumstances, was he/she able to stand up for pro-people and public good amidst pressures and threats of being isolated or not being given favors? If not, he must have been comfortably receiving his 15-30 salary only.

2. Does he/she hold a reputation of getting SOPs? This country is already full of filthy rich public officials. If we want our country to advance like our Asian neighboring countries Hongkong or Singapore, get these filthy rich corrupt people out of public office.

3. Should he not be a public official and a neophyte trying out in public office, what does he do in life? What good will he bring for the people? Is he capable of being a public official given his respective capacities? Is he able to initiate systems and approaches for the betterment of the people? Will he/she be able to stand up for pro-people positions amidst pressures and threats of being isolated or not being given favors from superiors? If not, tell her/him nga agdigos iti nalammiis nga danum bareng mari-ing.

We need public officials who are not corrupt, people who will stand up for just and people-oriented concerns. Leaders whom we feel confident that they can lead and be there at your side come hell or high waters. He may be a Christian, a Muslim, or a Pagan; an Igorot, an Ilocano, or Tagalog; a man or a woman. But definitely, not an alien or a misfit.

We need workable and relevant systems. Better approaches which would redound to the public good and public interest. And this means better and responsive characters who would actualize what government is supposed to mean: a government by, of and for the people.
I like what Mrs Cecilia Dalog is doing in Mt. Province to win votes for her husband, incumbent Gov. Maximo Dalog on his bid for a second term as governor of Mt Province. By herself, she goes from house to house in her hometown at Bontoc and talks to members of the household asking them to support her husband. This humbling gesture of a spouse to support her better-half speaks of the independence of a woman to do what she plans to do at the beginning of the day.

The woman is the anchor of the house, and with the persevering attitude of Ms Dalog, I am inclined to believe that comebacking governor, Atty Dalog sources his strength of character from his wife.

I am reminded of the wife of a well known politician who goes campaigning for his husband escorted by a pack of umbrella-holding women. One loyalist holds an umbrella for the wife of this well known politician whether in the heat of the sun or on a rainy day. I guess the politician-husband sources his strength from the umbrella.



Sin City
by Benito ‘Jong’ Molintas

LAS VEGAS, US - “Sin City”, “City of Sodom and Gomora”, “Bad influence city”, and other negative trademarks describe Las Vegas, Nevada. But, some say it is a “City of life and openness.”

An account of the city’s history flashed in the television of Stratosphere Hotel where we stayed for a couple of nights insinuated why some call it Sin City. Originally, the big business establishments in the city were monopolized by the paparazzi.

In order to gain more money to develop their buildings and businesses, they needed to cheat people by controlling the slot machines. They programmed the money to be lost and the money to be gained. I don’t actually know how they did it though.

Nowadays in Las Vegas, you can also see scattered nude photos and contact numbers of ladies exposing their bodies for costumers. People may call it Sin City because they see so much sex around. For conservatives, it is not a conducive place for “growing people” due to pornography, drinking and other vices.

There have been real life stories about parents sending their children to school in the city only to find out later their progenies are doing their best hanging out in gambling areas.

This had forced parents to take their children back to better cities conducive for learning. Officials have admitted that the “open ways” of the city have led the young to try what adults do which led to early marriages or other ways that diverted their normal routines and activities at home and to their studies.

I prefer to call Las Vegas an “open city” or “city of life” without the derogatory connotations. As one enters the city, one is struck by its “life.” There are a lot of musicians, architects, photographers and others in different fields who are showcasing their work.

The architectural designs impressed me most. There is a feeling of excitement in the air. When you are there, control your urge to drop coins in slot machines or buying chips to play baccarat.
In my case, I used my time with my cousins Philip and Edwin Tumaliuan to tour the city. Miniatures of Venice, Ceasar’s Palace, Sphynx, Egyptian Pyramids and many more were just a few works or art seen in this place.

I call it also an open city because gays and lesbians are not a taboo in society. Instead they are seen as assets, but if it is an irony, nobody cares about it. The gays are so much accepted.
You can’t see folks making faces at them or hear insulting or degrading words against them unlike in our place in the Philippines where their partners are ashamed of having a relationship with them.

Some hit gays in our place in the Cordillera because they hate to see their likes. Anyway, it may not be a big deal, but gays are just seen in our place as persons to be laughed at – like those who stay in beauty parlors.

Gays are also being discriminated against because they are taking the roles of women who are generally known to be physically weak. But, this is a challenge to the male species -- women and gays are strong. They are the ones looking for food to feed their children and doing something for the betterment of their families and society.

Let us be open, like these people living here. Gays are normal people like women who can do what men can do. Let us open our horizons to accept the reality that gays are doing something in the development of communities.



Progress ruined Baguio – no more progress please
by Grace Bandoy

If you are a true blue Baguio baby, you would hate Baguio today. I do - a Baguio girl to the bones and I hate what’s become of our city.

Sure there’s nowhere for Baguio to go but the city it is now. Every place on earth has to become progressive and “citycized.” We cannot be a humble barrio forever. Baguio should be developed and made a hotshot city. Those are all the shitty stuff we were made to believe. And boy did we fall into it all.

Now Baguio is progressive but we are not happy at all. We are sad because the progress we thought was good was the very same thing that ruined our beautiful city. And we can’t bring the same old pretty Baguio back.

It’s really sad, it can even be depressing sometimes. A day doesn’t pass when I walk around our streets and don’t ask how Baguio ever became like this.

Baguio is so small. One can ride around the whole of Baguio in three hours, walk around it in seven hours. Baguio people know almost everybody else. You go to church on Sunday at the Baguio Cathedral and you run into all your friends and relatives and neighbors and crushes.
You walk around Session Road and you bump into all your schoolmates. It was a very friendly city because everybody seemed to be friends or acquaintances. Now you go around Session Road and it would be a miracle if you run into someone you know, even if you walk around there everyday. Strangers dominate our streets, they have outnumbered the original Baguio occupants. They even act like they own Baguio.

I really hate it in here right now. It has become over populated. All our mountains and forests and water reservation areas have been sold to rich a -- holes who have the money to build huge houses on them. All our raw lands are being made into subdivisions with houses and houses everywhere. And to top that are the gazillions of vehicles producing deadly smoke rule our streets.

Baguio’s sidewalks are overflowing with beggars and pickpockets and perverts. There’s no room to breathe in the central business district – what with all the malls and pollution and sidewalk vendors and countless shops and dense inhabitation.

Now, we are fast-becoming like Manila – center of pollution, hang out of beggars and squatters and criminals, hub of city-living-hungry people, mall rats, Muslim communities, punks, etc. – a melting pot of people from everywhere who don’t care whether they’re making Baguio a better place to live in – they just don’t care if Baguio is dilapidating as long as they’re living in here.
We need to preserve the very few natural beauty Baguio is left with. No more malls, no more cutting of trees, no more building of overpasses and flyovers, no more selling of lands and mountains.

We’ve had enough of that shitty thing called progress already. Stop progress now. If you love this city don’t vote for those who want more progress for Baguio – Baguio doesn’t need progress at all, not anymore.


Bull's Hit

Election Telenovela
by Rudy Garcia

It was a hot day, April 18, just 26 days before the election. I checked in with my son a 14-year- old, at a popular hotel in the city of Baguio courtesy of a gift package from a popular, rich politician from the north who is now running as a candidate for senator this coming May 14 election. With my body tired and exhausted, I lay flat on the bed and got my afternoon nap.
When I woke up, I noticed that my son was not around so I went out from our room and started looking for him in every corridor. I could not find him so I tried to knock and peep on every room.

In one of the rooms I entered, I saw several men with high-powered firearms as if going to battle. I was fortunate as some of them were my friends so I did not worry or feel nervous. I knew that this group was a brotherhood organization composed mostly of active and retired military men.

Well, they were now preparing to stage an attack, a “coup de etat” against the administration before the election. They were reportedly being financed and handled by two senatorial candidates this coming May election. Both were known to be military officers, handsome, and intelligent. The old one was a popular EDSA personality during the EDSA I People’s Power Revolution and the young one was a popular personality in a failed military mutiny in a hotel.

Fearing I might get involved, I ran fast out from that room. At the hotel lobby, I met a Baguio City candidate for a high position in the city. I continued to look for my son and at the hotel main entrance when I saw the young and handsome candidate and the young and pretty candidate for councilor in the city holding hands seemingly too much in love with each other.

I was shocked because the two are happily married to their respective husband and wife and even have kids, meaning their relationship is forbidden, or in tagalong bawal na pag-ibig. But who cares, we have a saying hahamakin ng lahat, mahalin ka lamang. Is this another reason why these two lovebirds parted political parties, to cover-up and let the public believe it’s just trabaho lang at walang personalan?

Getting tired, I went inside a coffee shop at the hotel lobby and while drinking my favorite cup of coffee, a saw this young highlander mayoralty favorite go inside the CR followed by a man I recall is an operator of a mini carnival temporarily operating at a playground in one of the public school in this city. When both of them went out from the CR, I noted they were both smiling fully to the ears, Mr. Candidate carrying an envelope and carnival operator reading a sheet of paper which seemed to be his special permit.

I tried to locate my son at the hotel parking area. Suddenly, an expensive latest model of a Mercedez Benz car stopped in front of the beggars. Its owner, another candidate gathered all the beggars to a nearby basketball court built by a Japanese woman engineer and fed them with lechon, fried chicken and even gave them money for their fare, but made them sign their names with their thumb marks on a sheet of paper with this big man of a body guard making everybody will obey all what Mr. Candidate will order them to do. This big man who should be serving his constituents being the Punong Barangay is now busy serving his boss.

Feeling hungry, I tried to eat the food leftovers but Mr. Candidate gave me the whole head of the lechon minus the brain, and of course also handed me dollars, yen and euro money.
I was about to ask more from Mr. Candidate but I heard my son screaming for help on the other side of the road wherein I saw several youngsters who looked like members of fraternities who lounge around a popular Square running after my son.

Seeing these youngsters armed with guns, knives, wooden clubs and stones, I was stunned and couldn’t move any longer to help my son. Call it luck, but a good-looking mestizo who is another electoral aspirant in the city came to the rescue and scared to death all these sanamagans. Surely, nobody can beat this candidate when peace and order is concerned, I hope he wins come May 14. Para matigil na ang pamamayagpag ng mga nagsisigasigahan dito sa lungsod ng Baguio. Durugin mo sila.

Going back to the hotel with my son, we saw old candidate trying to go up in his room through the stairs. He chose to check in at a room called Jadewell located at the top floor. The room boys advised him to use the elevator but he insisted in using the stairs.

Then I saw his trusted lieutenant. I wonder why he keeps on preaching and promoting characterism when he cannot convince his own son who is known to be a regular client of bar joints and nightspots to stop his wild ways.

Too tired and exhausted, we decided to check out from the hotel with much disappointment. There’s really no place like home.

Later, I was thinking I would vote for the candidates who gave me favors such as gifts packages, money and food and subsequently they won. But as time went by, I noticed we were becoming poorer and poorer.

My son now only eats twice a day a meal of rice and a drip of soy sauce. Out of pity, I tried to steal, snatch cell phones but I couldn’t since it’s not my line. Yes, I was thinking, I will just use my media power to make money out from those illegals otherwise they will be exposed.

I went home with plenty of money in my pockets, but at my house door a man pointed a gun and shot me. In my subconscious mind, I heard some people crying, laughing but what made me wake up was the loud cries of children in our neighborhood. Yes, thank God it was only a dream. How I wish these would not come true as I experience the hottest day of my life.



Pampanga priests hit for defying bishop’s guidelines on elections

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga – Devout Catholics in this province denounced some parish priests here for their “blatant disregard and open defiance” of the guidelines issued by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto in connection with the May elections.

Archbishop Aniceto earlier issued guidelines of priestly vows to steer the clergy away from partisan politics in the wake of the candidacy of Fr. Eddie Panlilio for the Pampanga governorship.

The guidelines explicitly prohibit the “use of the pulpit or the mass in campaigning for any particular candidate.”

A parish priest in Arayat openly endorsed Panlilio in his sermon during a mass in violation of Aniceto’s order.

In Sta. Lucio parish in this city, the priest was reported to have also endorsed Panlilion and even went on a house-to-house campaign.

The “gravest instance of defiance” of the archbishop happened in Magalang town last Maundy Thursday when Panlilio himself assumed the role of Christ – usually reserved to the parish priest – in the ceremonial rite for the washing the feet of the apostles, it was reported.
It was noted that upon the filing of his certificate candidacy, Panlilio was suspended from his ecclesiastical duties.

Panlilio’s very candidacy, despite the archbishop’s disapproval, has been viewed by most members of the clergy here and the laity as a “violation of his priestly vow of obedience” to Church authority.

“How can you expect him to follow the laws of men when he broke the very vow he had made before God at his ordination?” asked an officer of the parish pastoral council of the Our Lady of Sorrow in Barangay Dolores here.

“Hindi dapat mabahiran ng maruming pulitika and kadalisayan ng pananampalataya,” said a leader of the Catholic Women’s League in Barangay Puti, Masantol.

A priest in southern Pampanga, who requested anonymity, expressed “apprehension over a rift in the clergy, as well as the lay communities.”

He said his fellow priests who support other gubernatorial bets might “go the way of Fr. Ed’s (Panlilio’s) priest campaigners” by using the pulpit and ecclesiastical rites to campaign for their chosen candidates.

“If that happens, we would have the very thing of the Lord warned us against – a Babel for a Church, an institution standing against itself,” he said.

“Kawawa si Apu Ceto (the archbishop), wala man lang ni katiting na paggalang ang kaparian sa kanya,” a lay minister of the Metropolitan Cathedral here said, reacting to the disregard by the priests of his order for them not to engage in partisan politics.

Father Doy Austria, parish priest of Candaba, said that he is against the gubernatorial bid of Father Panlilio as he claimed that it is a blatant disrespect of the Church and the priesthood.
Father Doy said that this could further divide the Church and its parishioners.

Father Austria noted that the politics of men is not the calling of a priest as he insisted that priests were called by Christ to follow him. “Who are we to defy him?” he asked.

Father Austria said the government should be run by capable laymen, not by priests who were called as apostles of Christ and the Church should not be involve in running the affairs of the government.

Ilocos bets in 4 cities, 70 towns sign peace accords

VIGAN CITY – Candidates in four cities and 70 towns running in the May 14 elections in Region 1 signed peace covenants and attended a mass for peace in different churches in the region last week to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful polls.

Chief Supt. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Ilocos region police director, said based on a report reaching the headquarters of police regional office, candidates in 26 municipalities in Pangasinan, 15 in La Union, and 33 in Ilocos Sur participated in the signing of covenants and the mass for peace.
The candidates in the cities of Dagupan and San Carlos, both in Pangasinan, and Vigan and Candon, both in Ilocos Sur, also joined the covenant signing.

“I thank all bishops and the clergies for their support for this endeavor,” Bataoil said.
“This peace covenant and mass for peace are meritorious achievements of every citizen here in Region 1. I’m very thankful for their support and cooperation. This is because everybody wants a peaceful and credible election,” Bataoil said.

The signing of peace covenant was a joint initiative of the Philippine National Police, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the Commission on Elections and the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption.

The objective is to give spiritual guidance to the candidates with the end in view of conducting
peaceful honest and credible elections in the region.

Ilocos Sur Police provincial director George Regis reported candidates in Sinait, Ilocos Sur have not yet signed the peace covenant and did not attend the mass for peace.

Fr. Albert Rabi of Sinait had earlier sought clarifications from the police regarding the two activities.

In Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Director Roman Felix is coordinating with Bishop Utleg, the provincial chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the Commission on Elections in connection with a plan to hold synchronized covenant signing and mass in the Laoag City cathedral.

It was expected that all the candidates in Ilocos Norte would attend the two events.

‘Joseph Estrada’ running for town councilor in Pangasinan

BUGALLON, Pangasinan – Joseph Estrada is running for municipal councilor here. No, he is just a namesake of the former president.

But a name, a mustache and wearing wristbands are just about what he has in common with opposition leaders.

The Estrada of this municipal town is a candidate for the administration Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats. He is also an adopted bet of Biskeg na Pangasinan..

Incidentally nicknamed “Ping,” the same as opposition re-electionist Sen. Panfilo Lacson, this Estrada said he is campaigning on the platform of good governance and a corruption-free government.

His “buloy,” which here means a person having the same, was ousted from power in 2001 for alleged plunder charges and later detained as his case is being heard by the Sandiganbayan.

Whenever he goes around campaigning, the local Estrada said he tells the people his slogan as to why they should vote for him: “Hindi (h)erap, ginhawa ‘yan!”

And for more “pogi” or plus points, he said he wants to wear a wristband similar to the one used by the ex-president who rose to popularity when he was a movie active before joining politics.

Controversial Baguio City dumpsite closed

BAGUIO CITY – Acting Baguio Mayor Reinaldo A. Bautista Jr. ordered the closure of the controversial Irisan dumpsite here to pave the way for its much-awaited rehabilitation and conversion into a controlled dump.

The first phase of the project has already begun. It is being implemented by the winning bidder, the Asia Envirocons-C.B. Garay Philwide Builders.

The city government signed the contract with the contractor. Completion of the project would ensure the city’s compliance with the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Bautista announced the closure of the dumpsite and rehabilitation, saying it is a special project.

The city environment and parks management office was tasked to supervise the implementation of the project, supported by the city’s engineer’s office.

A technical working group of the city solid waste management board and representatives of other concerned agencies will monitor the project.

The project, which has an allocation of P18.7 million, will involve the closure and rehabilitation of 75 percent of the 2.1 hectare dumpsite, and the remaining 25 percent of the area will be maintained as residual waste containment area.

The scope of work for the project includes trash moving work, which involves the leveling and compaction of existing solid waste and spreading and compaction of the earthfill. -- DS

3 family members, helper killed in Ilocos incidents

LAOAG CITY – Three members of a family were killed on April 15 when a tricycle they were riding in collided head-on with an Izuso Elf truck in Barnagay Cabusligan, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, lawmen said.

Investigators reported that the victims, Jonel Reyes, his live-in partner Maryjane and their son Cetric, 8, died of multiple injuries at the provincial hospital here.
John Michael, a six-month-old member of the family, miraculously survived, suffering only minor injuries.

Police Chief Dominic Guerrero said the truck driver, Glenn Trinidad, surrendered to the police station in Bacarra.

In Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, a helper at a grocery store was found dead in a cemetery near a church in Barangay 8, this city on April 17.

SPO4 Elpidio Ponce, desk officer of the Vigan City Police Station identified the victim as Joel Refuerzo, of Barangay Tamurong, Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur.

Ponce said investigators found a kitchen knife, a pair of slippers and two ball caps at the crime scene.

Investigators theorized that there might have been a struggle between the killer and the victim who was stabbed in the armpit.

De Venecia endorses TU bets in Pangasinan

DAGUPAN CITY – Speaker Jose De Venecia endorsed the Team Unity senatorial slate to his constituents in Pangasinan’s fourth congressional district during a three-hour TU caravan.

De Venecia told reporters he and other leaders of the province should be expected to campaign harder to further improve the poll survey results for TU bets.

Expressing confidence of serving another term as Speaker of the 14th Congress, De Venecia revealed from a 5-7 poll survey results in favor of the Genuine Opposition ticket last month, the TU slate is now leading 7-5 in the latest surveys.

“We still have to push harder to at least get 9-3 or 10-2 in the next survey and even 12-0 on May 14,” the House leader said.

He said the well-oiled local campaign machinery in administration political strongholds in the country is expected to go into high gear in the next few days to ensure a TU victory.

De Venecia and his wife Gina led hundreds of pro-administration political leaders in Pangasinan in warmly welcoming the more than 30-vehicle caravan of TU candidates and supporters who motored from Tarlac City to Manaoag where the two groups converged.

TU bets former Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Sen. Joker Arroyo led the caravan which covered at least 10 localities in vote-rich Pangasinan.

First stop for the group was the Our Lady of Manaoag shrine which is famous for granting the wishes of Catholic pilgrims.

“I always make it a point to visit churches and other holy places to give thanks to God for giving me an opportunity to offer myself to my country,” said Sotto.

Earlier, Sotto, former Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta and former Secretary Mike Defensor were lauded by Cagayan folk when they took time off their hectic campaign schedule to visit the Our Lady of Piat church.

De Venecia, president of the country’s largest political party Lakas-CMD, joined the 10-wheel truck carrying Sotto and comedian Jimmy Santos. Gina joined Arroyo in the senator’s SUV.
TU campaign officials lauded De Venecia’s diligence and determination in pushing for a win by the administration-backed senatorial slate.

De Venecia is the lone administration candidate endorsed by the Arroyo government in the congressional race in Pangasinan’s fourth district.

A local survey conducted by TU indicated that De Venecia is enjoying a high 80-percent support from his constituents. He is being challenged by PDP-Laban bet Mayor Benjamin Lim of Dagupan City.

De Venecia said the recent survey results in Pangasinan further bolstered his bid to pursue an unprecedented sixth term as Speaker.

P3.5 billion used for Cordillera projects
BAGUIO CITY – About P3.5 billion worth of projects were poured out to the Cordillera region for the past year based on a consolidated report of the Regional Project Monitoring Committee.
This was gleaned from the reports of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Irrigation Administration, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Health, Baguio Water District, and the State Universities and Colleges.

Bulk of the projects are categorized as infrastructure projects amounting to P2.43B. These include major foreign assisted road projects like the Japan-assisted Baguio-Aritao Project, the World Bank- assisted Halsema Highway Rehabilitation Project, and the Australian Aid-assisted Baguio Water Supply Rehabilitation Project.

Agri-industrial projects, on the other hand, got a sizeable allotment of P1.025, which is mainly apportioned to the Itogon Integrated Watershed Management Project amounting to P750 million. Social projects had a meager share of P108 million.

Of the total 1,747 projects listed, majority were carry over from previous year appropriations while only 468 projects were funded from last year’s General Appropriations Act.

As of December 2006, 86 percent of the projects was already completed, seven percent ongoing, and nine percent has not yet been started.

About four percent of the projects is delayed due to a number of implementation difficulties
which implementing agencies and local government units have contended with such as delayed fund release, limited funds, slow bidding process, fund realignment, suspension of work due to unfavorable weather conditions, road right-of-way issues, boundary conflicts, and delayed project components.

However, some sectors point out that the huge carry over projects reveal the seemingly inability of some agencies to implement many projects. The impact of these big projects is yet to be assessed by RPMC.

Moreover, according to RPMC reports, not all agencies are openly reporting the status of their projects. -- PIA-CAR

98 persons in danger of rabies ‘outbreak’ in CL

MABALACAT, Pampanga – A least 98 persons are in danger of being affected by rabies after a Good Friday flagellant in Barangay Aguso here died of the affliction last April 11, health authorities said.

The flagellant’s wife, his two children and residents now have to be given anti-rabies and other vaccines for 90 days.

Mayor Marino Morales said on April 16 that Eduardo Sese of Aguso town was confirmed to have died of rabies at the Tiglao Hospital here.

He said Sese participated in the self-flagellation tradition in his barangay on Good Friday, together with scores of other residents who shared the same blade in incising the shallow cuts on their back to allow the free flow of blood during flagellation.

“After the flagellation, he and other flagellants shared the same glass in a drinking bout,” he noted.

Municipal health officer Dr. Ma. Clara Aquino said the common blade and the common glass could possibly have transmitted the rabies virus to other people, including other flagellants.

“The confirmation of rabies as the cause of Sese’s death has prompted health authorities to trace those who might have been “exposed” to the rabies virus, and we were able to track down 98 persons, including Sese’s wife and two children,” Morales said.

Aquino said Sese’s friends said he was bitten by a dog sometime October last year and again last February, but he never had himself examined by a doctor.
Rabies often resulted from dog bites, health officials said.

The incubation period of rabies can be as long as five years, although 95 percent of those infected develop the disease within one year.

Once a patient starts to show symptoms the victim usually dies within 10 days.



>> Monday, April 16, 2007

Weaving electoral magic

Whatever the administration’s Team Unity and the Genuine Opposition have to say on surveys on their winnability, the fact remains that people want change for the better. They are voting for the senatoriables they perceive as “cleaner” and “more honorable.”

Malacanang ignored the latest Pulse Asia survey which showed no improvement in the standing of administration senatorial bets against their counterparts in the political opposition. The GO meanwhile said their good rating showed the people wanted them as the next senators as compared to TU candidates.

Based on the latest Pulse Asia survey on preferences for the May 2007 senatorial elections, TU candidates still trailed their GO counterparts 8-5 on a list of 15 possible candidates who have a statistical chance of winning the 12 seats available in the Senate.

Surveys are a gauge on the final outcome. Perceptions can be manipulated but reality cannot be. The few days before the elections will determine the outcome of who will become the Lucky 12. If candidates are traveling from province to province, it is because they know that the crucial votes come from the provincial grassroots, not from Manila slums.

Now the opposition is saying the Commission on Elections is laying the groundwork for a TU win so that when the voting is done, the magic should have been weaved in favoring administration candidates.

They fear a repeat of the 2004 elections and don’t want a lot of Garci clones manipulating results of the elections. Whatever, the opposition should also do its work so that elections would be cleaner this time by laying the groundwork so that the perceived administration magicians would be foiled in their evil designs to rig electoral results.



Jueteng and candidates
by Alfred P. Dizon

Archbishop Paciano Aniceto must have been joking when he urged his flock to reject any candidate who cannot declare in public that they have not been involved and will never be involved in “jueteng” and other forms of illegal activities. Call it a shot to the moon but then, no journey starts with one not making the first step.

Everybody knows that jueteng is one of the most profitable industries in the country where almost everybody is a stakeholder – from bishops, cops to politicians. True or not, I doubt if any politician would come out in the open and declare that he had not been involved in jueteng and risk being called a hypocrite.

Aniceto, the top religious leader of the Capampangans, in a pastoral letter entitled “Reject evil, choose the good,” said “Voters should reject candidates who cannot face the challenge of categorically and truthfully declare in public that they have not been – and will never be – involved in jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling, indiscriminate and corrupt quarrying, vote-buying, any form of cheating in the elections, exorbitant campaigning, violence and extra judicial killings, and illegal drugs.”

“We call on all voters, especially the Catholic faithful, to reject any candidate who cannot truthfully and resolutely make any of the declaration,” he said. Tall order, but the prelate decided to issue the letter in answer to the clamor of the people for Church leaders to make their stand clear with regard to the social cancer that is eroding the moral fiber of the people.
He said money is again becoming the bone of contention in Capampangan politics. He added if people do not do anything to expose and put a stop to the underhanded and manipulative practices of shady patrons who, because of their involvement in jueteng and questionable quarrying activities have all the money to spend in the elections, then they are bound to take control again of politics and governance.

“In the context of the forthcoming elections, we have reason to be seriously worried that money from jueteng and questionable quarrying will again serve as decisive factor in the victory of certain candidates,” Aniceto said. Good luck bishop. It would be worth watching if bishops in the Cordillera and other parts of northern Luzon issue the challenge to politicians.
Jueteng money is a necessity for some if not most politicians particularly during elections. Jueteng lords grudgingly give the moolah to their protectors during these times. Who can say these lords of ill-repute are not benevolent? They provide jobs to kubradors so they can have something to feed their families, something the government is hard put in doing. It is illegal but everybody loves it. It is high time we legalize it like casinos and lotto so it could be regulated and the money could be accounted well. But then again, who says there is transparency on the part of government in baring how taxpayers’ money is used?
Maybe Bishop Aniceto should also come up with a statement urging government officials to declare that they have not absconded or misused government money and likewise urge the people not to vote for officials who don’t declare that they are clean. Another shot to the moon, but will please somebody among our officials please stand up and declare their “cleanliness” and “uprightness.”

Maybe, Aniceto without saying it, is amenable to the proposal of Brother Mike Velarde's that the Church endorse candidates.

Now, Sen. Recto is saying it’s something for the Church hierarchy to decide on. “At the very least, the Church should conduct voters' education and raise citizen awareness on the need for honest election. It can also issue guidelines for the enlightenment of its flock so they can make an informed choice come election day. Whatever our faith is, we should not vote for a person solely based on his religion, but should appraise a person in his totality.” Sultan Kiram, anyone? Any hot-blooded male I guess would be envious at someone who has four wives and would not vote for him.

But then again, it is not the Muslims who have the most wives but the Christians. I guess everybody knows these high-profile former governments who have more than five wives and lots of children from different women.
This former senator is one of the prolific breeders, but then, that is his business. You see, I have not been a huge fan of many a politician in the national level including Mr. Macho. I’m still thinking who among these senatoriables deserve my vote come election day since my immediate family discouraged me from filing the candidacy of my dog Mukat for senator with the Commission on Elections. They said upright, reliable and loyal Mukat would become tainted.


Cosalan clarifies law on miners' retirement age

By March L. Fianza

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Contrary to what is now being spread in the mining camps by unscrupulous supporters of the opposite camp, former congressman Ronald "Ronnie" Cosalan claimed that it was he who pushed in congress the bill reducing the retirement age of underground mine workers from 60 to 50.

"It was a fulfillment of a promise I made to mine workers in consultations that were held before becoming their representative in congress," he clarified, referring to the "Underground Mine Workers Act" or R.A. 8558.

Despite the controversy generated in the process of its passage, Cosalan said he is happy for the law because in some way it frees the underground mine worker from his previous work condition.

The struggle to pass the bill was rough since there was understandable opposition from the management sector of the mining companies.

Their predicament was seen in the money they had to pay their retiring miners in accordance with law, and a "chaotic" re-balancing of their finances.

The more contentious issues raised in the committee discussion of the bill were the nature of underground mine work that was most strenuous and most dangerous to life and limb.

Work environment in the mining tunnels was health threatening too, as compared to other field work or blue collar jobs.

The youthful Cosalan said that records in the Batasan bear the best proof of every bill introduced in the House of Representatives of which he was a member from 1995 to 2001.

Passage of the law was supported in the upper chamber by senator Marcelo Fernan, the incumbent president of the senate then.

The concerned department under the executive branch should now be implementing its provisions since it was signed into a law nearly a decade ago, Cosalan said.

Another Cosalan bill that encountered rough sailing in congress was the ancestral lands and ancestral domain law. It was crafted in collaboration with Senator Juan Flavier. Today, several indigenous tribes are benefiting from the justice that the law provides.

Unfortunately however, politicians of vote-rich Baguio were opposed to its application in the city. In contrast to the records of the DENR then, they argued that there were no longer any ancestral lands left in the city.
I really had a very bad stomach last week. I was never in that condition for the past five years or so but last week was different as it interfered in my decision on what to write about in this column. This is the result of that bad stomach ache.

The following are verses many PR "experts" unwittingly state or write in the course of their functions. Some are statements of spokesmen of the government's agencies, some are from private entities. Here goes.

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." -- anti-smoking campaign ad written on the poster of a health agency office.

"I've never had any major knee surgery on any other part of my body." -- said by a basketball idol who once became a public official.

"Aside from the killings, the Philippines has one of the lowest crime rates in Asia." -- Police general interviewed by the foreign press.

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need" -- statement of an environment official during deliberations on the Clean Air Act in congress.

"Half this game is ninety percent mental." -- sports commentator

The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Einstein." -- sports analyst.

"Most of Manila's imports come from overseas." -- Customs official talking to a Chinese businessman

"Your food ration will be stopped effective May 2007 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your condition." -- letter notice sent to a social services client in Tondo from the PR man of a rich politician in Manila.

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record." -- doctor instructing a group of nurses class=.


Cowboy music in Benguet

By Jorge Pawid

Benguet people love country and western music. Even modern native compositions have adapted the familiar country and western music styles.

Our countrymen in other parts of the Philippines find it amusing and wonder why the i-Benguets and some Cordillerans love country music so much that the majority of the Benguet populace dress like cowboys and cowgirls from head to foot. That’s why shoemakers in the city and nearby La Trinidad have learned to hand-sew local boots whose designs are copied from imported catalogues. The influence of local fashion and music by American country and westerns has become sort of a phenomena.

Where else in the country would you find the original and longest surviving park that caters to horse-riding for a minimal fee. Wright Park in Baguio City. And the idea was influenced by American country and western music. Ask Ramon Dacawi, who is an Ifugao by blood but an adopted Benguet having grown up in Wright Park as a pony boy.

Baguio and La Trinidad’s folk and country dens live and survive on the patronage Benguet’s country and western music lovers. Nightly, local musicians in these joints entertain people from all walks of life mostly coming from the Pines City and Benguet’s 13 towns by way of belting out old and new country and western hits.

To name a few; Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Buck Owens, Elvis Presly, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, John Denver, Patsy Kline, Tommy Wynnette of the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s to the 80s with the likes of the Eagles, Kenny Rogers, Don Williams, Clint Black, Randy Travis, Alabama, Johnny Lee, George Strait, Alan Jackson, etc… The list is long. Ask any regular of these bars.

Even popular rock and roll hits, some by the Beatles, have been converted to the country and western theme. And believe me, our local musicians can perform these hits to the note and sometimes even better.

Public Utility Vehicles (jeepneys, buses, taxicabs and vans) plying routes in the Cordillera would be empty of passengers if not for their car stereos playing country tunes either from a CD, cassette tape or the radio courtesy of 99.9 FM).

Not only in pubs and bars is country and western that popular. Even during private parties and gatherings. Country music is the gender sang by all. Intermissions of public and government programs are renditions of country and western music.

Local amateur battle of the bands contests in Benguet are replete with country and western. Even western outfits are judged. Conrad Marzan, one of the pioneers of folk-singing in Baguio City, related that most of his the songs sang during his sets in local folkhouses are accommodations to requests.

One time, a tipsy customer asked Conrad to render the popular “Silver Wings” by Merle Haggard. Having forgotten the lyrics, Conrad politely told the customer so. The customer stood up and reacted by insisting that Conrad knew the song by heart and should sing it at the moment. The customer became unruly and even challenged Conrad to a fistfight outside the bar. He was restrained by other customers and given more drinks to lull him to sleep and keep him out of trouble.

Such incidents are not isolated. This only goes to show how the local Benguets love country music. Conrad had to memorize that song to avoid a repeat of such incident. He later learned the more popular songs that the folkhouse patrons loved to request. And it has made Conrad a star among the clientele.

Our column’s neighbor, March Fianza, knows this situations all to well having blazed the local folkhouse scene in the 70s and 80s. Ask Alfred Dizon who still performs regular solo sets in one of the city’s more popular folkhouses.

The jukebox, popular during the 50s to the 80s, is a big contributing factor to the Benguet’s love for the country-western music genre. Like modern technology, the karaoke was born and today we find in almost every nook and corner a videoke bar with a lot of country-western selections being sung by local patrons.

Like in any democracy where showbiz personalities have become politicians, former professional popular and idolized country and western singers were voted into public office because of their singing. A popular guy was Brian Aliping as councilor in Tuba and later board member in Mt. Province, and his brother Nick as councilor in Baguio City.

Other politicians too are now belting out country-western tunes to woo the votes of the local electorate. Among them is former congressman Ronnie Cosalan of Benguet, and councilor and aspiring mayor William Esteban of La Trinidad and a host of others.


It takes Jupiter to overthrow Saturn

by Gina P. Dizon

Congressional aspirant for the lone district of Mt Province, Jupiter Dominguez, has an interesting name. Jupiter, the chief god of all the Olympian gods in Greek mythology also known as Zeus, is the son of Saturn whom Jupiter overthrew.

Like the Greek gods, Jupiter is challenging his uncle, long time congressman of Mt Province for nearly 30 years, Victor Dominguez for the congressional seat. Should Jupiter “overthrow” his uncle is a story and will be known come May 14.

We will know why and how he will “overthrow” his uncle given present circumstances. Jupiter had proven how to lead, having a mind and guts.

Defying the culture of not rivaling a relative, much more an uncle, is a negative point among the conservatives. Much more, among the clannish tribes of culture- rich Montanosa.

Yet, rivaling a relative means that it is an issue of initiating changes and not sticking to culture and status quo where it may even be an unresponsive and inutile one. While you may gain votes among the liberals , you may also neutralize the conservatives.

This means Jupiter can initiate responsive and relevantly contemporary political and economic reforms which would be good for the people of Mt Province rather than letting obsolete and unresponsive systems still work which is what trapos do.

Should he have been a trapo, he may have to run in the same party with his uncle in another position, or waited for his uncle to retire before coming in. A friend said, maybe it is just a political gimmick and that eventually one of the two will endorse his votes to the other.

Yet, that would be political suicide for this political family if that would be done. In the next elections, nobody would believe them again. Candidacy is not an issue of political dynasty. It is an issue of capability. Jupiter has the qualifications of a congressman if given the chance by the electorate. He has been an outstanding mayor in his hometown in Sabangan, chairman of the Mayors’ League of Mt Province, and even adjudged as one of the most outstanding mayors of the country. He has proven his mettle.

According to my friend, Jupiter will keep off votes from other young aspirants and will eventually let his uncle or him win. Yet, that would be dividing a house and getting defeated. And worse, both may get defeated.

Both have the money and in elections, money is a major and crucial need in order to win. Either one could win. Besides, Jupiter is coming in at the right time that his uncle is already retiring in his 70s, my friend insisted.

Should Jupiter emerge victorious in the coming May 14 elections, I am inclined to believe that the Olympian gods must also be working in remote Montanosa where it also has its own mythological stories of Kabunian and the creation of the earth.

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