Ang Kagitingan ng mga Sundalo sa Sultan Kudarat at Maguindanao

ANG KAGITINGAN  NG MGA SUNDALO NOONG DEKADA 70 ,  ANG 1ST MECHANIZED INFANTRY (MAAASAHAN) BRIGADE SA SULTAN KUDARAT AT MAGUINDANAO, AT SI PRESIDENTE RODRIGO DUTERTE

Ni Apolinario Villalaobos

 

Ang mga una kong naging kaibigang sundalo ay kabilang sa 12IB na naitalaga noong dekada 70, sa bayan ng Esperanza , Sultan Kudarat…. kainitan ng bakbakan sa pagitan ng “Black Shirts” at “Ilaga”.  Nasa kolehiyo ako pero nagtatrabaho na rin sa Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Naigawa ko pa ang mga kaibigan ko ng marching song na, “Ballad of the 12IB”. Noon ko unang naunawaan ang hirap na dinadanas nila para tumupad sa tungkulin na ang kapalit ay maliit na suweldo nang panahong yon.  At, yan ay sa kabila pa rin ng nararamdaman nilang pangamba araw-araw.

 

Kasama naming mga taga-DSWD ang ilan sa kanila bilang escort tuwing mamudmod kami ng relief goods sa mga evacuation center ng mga Kristiyano at Muslim. Nakita ko sila kung paanong makipagbiruan sa mga anak ng mga Muslim evacuees. Isang beses ay nakita ko ang isa sa kanilang nagbigay ng biscuit sa anak ng isang buntis na Muslim evacuee. Ang nabanggit na tanawing hindi ko makalimutan ang nag-udyok sa akin upang magsulat tungkol sa mga kagitingan ng mga sundalo noong nasa Manila na ako at nagtatrabaho  sa Philippine Airlines. Nalulungkot lang ako noon tuwing mabalitaan ko sa mga dating kasama sa DSWD ang pagkamatay sa bakbakan ng mga kaibigan naming mga batang-batang  sundalo.

 

Naulit ang pakikipagkaibigan ko sa mga sundalo noong 2018, nang makilala ko ang mga nakatalaga sa 1st Mechanized (Maaasahan) Brigade sa Camp Bienvenido M. Leono, Kalandagan, Tacurong City na noon ay nasa pamumuno ni BGen. Bob Dauz nang magdaos sila ng isang mahalagang okasyon. Nasundan  ito ng isang proyekto na isinagawa ng mga empleyado ng  Fitmart Mall – ang pagtanim ng mga puno sa paligid ng kampo.  Nakikiisa rin ang mga kasundaluhan ng nasabing kampo sa LGU ng Tacurong tuwing maglinis ng mga kanal sa paligid ng lunsod.  Maganda ang naging epekto ng mga ginawa ng mga sundalo ng 1st Mechanized Brigade dahil  mula noon, nawala ang kaba ng mga taga-Tacurong  kahit may makitang armored car o military truck na puno ng mga sundalo na dumadaan sa lunsod. Ang nasabing brigada ay nasa Camp Bienvenido B. Leono, Jr. mula pa noong March 1, 2017.  Malaking tulong ang nagawa ni Bogz Jamorabon, hepe ng CDRRM-Tacurong City upang magamit ng brigada ang lupaing pinagkaloob ng dating mayor ng lunsod na si Lina Montilla.

 

Mapalad ako dahill nakilala ko si Maj. Rolando M. Ocharan, Jr.  na itinalaga bilang CMO Officer ng 1st Infrantry (Maaasahan) Brigade na nakitaan ko ng sipag sa pagpapakalat ng mga impormasyon tungkol sa mga ginagawa ng brigada upang lalong maunawaan at masuportahan sila ng mga mamamayan ng mga probinsiya ng Sultan Kudarat at Maguindanao.  Magaling siyang sumulat at malinaw ang mga pagkakaulat ng mensahe kaya madaling maunawaan ng nagbabasa.

 

Mula sa mga ulat na nilathala ni Maj. Ocharan, Jr. batay sa kautusan ng nakatataas sa kanya, nalaman ko noong si BGen. Bob Dauz ay pinalitan ni BGen. Efren D. Baluyot bilang pinuno ng Camp Leono,  at nagpatuloy sa pagsilbi sa 6 na bayan at isang lunsod ng Sultan Kudarat at 7 bayan ng Maguindanao bilang bahagi ng “Development Support and Security Operations (DSSO) ng brigada.

 

Sa ngayon, ang 1st Infranty (Maaasahan) Brigade ay inilipat sa Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao at nasa pamumuno  ni Col. Jesus Rico D. Atencio. Si  BGen. Efren P. Baluyot naman ay itinalaga bilang Assistant Division Commander, Armor (Pambato) Division ng Philippine Army. Samantala, ang 601st Infantry Brigade sa pamumuno ni  BGen. Roy M. Galido ang nasa Camp Leono, Kalandagan, Tacurong City, sa kasalukuyan.

 

 

 

Ang sakrispisyo ng mga sundalo ngayon ay nabigyan ng angkop na pagkilala ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte na ang isa sa mga unang ginawa ay pagpapalaki ng kanilang sahod. Kung noon ay may mga pangangatiyaw na  lumalabas sa internet na mga larawan ng combat boots na nakanganga at halos punit-punit na uniporme dahil sa kakapusan ng budget kaya hindi agad nakakabili ng supply, ngayon ay  matitikas na ang mga sundalo dahil maagap nang natutugunan ang kanilang pangangailangan.  Ang tiwala at pagkilala sa mga sundalo na ibinigay ng president ng Pilipinas ay sinuklian naman nila ng kasipagan at sigla sa pagtupad ng kanilang tungkulin sa bayan….SAMANTALA, ANG HANGAD NAMAN NILA MULA SA MGA KABABAYAN AY RESPETO, SUPORTA AT  TIWALA.

 

Free Will and the Hypocrisy of “Moral” Civilized Society

FREE WILL AND THE HYPOCRISY OF “MORAL “ AND CIVILIZED SOCIETY
By Apolinario Villalobos

In the Bible, Proverbs 16:9 says, “in their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”. Unfortunately, the abuse of this Biblical adage has contributed a lot to what has become of the world. Free will made the strong and greedy exploit the weak. They intentionally disregard the rightful steps established by the Lord.

Pondering deeply on this issue, as humans are supposed to “plan their course”, many aspects of life should be taken into consideration such as victims of diseases who live in pain, ageing people who seriously consider themselves to have outlived their usefulness on earth and neglected humans left to die alone. These are the humans whose best option is to rest gracefully, endorsed properly to the waiting arms of the Lord….they just want to rest…they did not kill or steal because of free will…..they did not exploit others. But the hypocrisy of the “moral” and civilized human society insists that it is not right to take the life given by the Lord…BUT THEN, HUMANS DID NOT ASK TO BE BORN. THEY ARE THE RESULT OF COPULATION…OF SEX, WHETHER THE INTENTION IS JUST LUST OR PURE LOVE. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE “STEPS ESTABLISHED” BY THE LORD INCLUDE THE “RIGHT TIME TO DIE” DESPITE THE PAIN AND NO HOPE FOR RECUPERATION, THEN, THE LORD IS SADISTIC.

Confined epidemics and worldwide pandemics have brought about sufferings as with famine, exploitations, disasters and wars. Human intelligence and technology are able to salvage many lives but still many are left to endure the pain and face the inevitable death. Many poor families have members living in pain due to disease with no cure in sight and worse, due to financial incapability to sustain their life, what with the expensive medical attention and drugs. Many ageing humans painfully wait for their right time to rest, with many neglected by the very people whom they took care of from birth. Many people sanely think that they have reached the end of their useful life.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE HYPOCRITE “MORAL” HUMAN SOCIETY WOULD RATHER SEE THE STRONG EXPLOIT THE WEAK, HEAR THE MOANS OF HOPELESS MAIMED VICTIMS OF TRAGEDIES, SEE THE AGONY ON THE FACE OF THE DISEASED PATIENTS IN POOR HOMES AND HOSPITALS, AND REMAIN OBLIVIOUS TO THE BLANK STARE OF WASTING OLD PEOPLE NEGLECTED BY THEIR FAMILIES.

WHAT “USEFULNESS IN LIFE” CAN BE PERCEIVED IN PEOPLE WHO MOAN IN AGONY?…OF NEGLECTED OLD PEOPLE WITH BLANK STARE?…THE DYINGFIGURES IN BONES AND SKIN WHOSE HEARTS ARE MADE TO BEAT BY A MACHINE?

THE “MORAL” SOCIETY OF CIVILIZED HUMANS IS HELPLESS AGAINST ALL FORMS OF EXPLOITATIONS , YET CONDEMN THE SIMPLE DESIRE OF THOSE WHO SANELY CHOOSE TO REST AND BE WITH THE LORD….THAT IS THE HYPOCRISY OF THE “MORAL” SOCIETY OF THE CIVILIZED HUMANS.

TIKUG MATS STARTED MY ADVOCACY IN MANILA

“Tikug” Mats Started My Advocacy in Manila
But Nurtured as a Student in NDTC
By Apolinario Villalobos

After my stint in Tablas station (Romblon) with an initial job as Ticket/Freight Clerk of Philippine Airlines in early ‘80s, I was transferred to the Tours and Promotions Division in Manila. For practical and economic reasons, I stayed in a boarding house along Airport Road in Baclaran, as our office was at the old Domestic Airport (today, Terminal 4). During the time, what is now as ASEANA City, was yet, a body of water – Manila Bay, from the seawall of which the famed sunset could be clearly viewed. From late afternoon to early evening, I and some of my co-boarders would spend time at the seawall killing time. We would observe some people dragging their belongings in plastic and tattered shoulder bags while strolling along the boulevard, some were with their family. Before we would go back to the boarding house, we observed them spreading blankets on the grassy ground on which they rested for the night.

The scenes of elderly people and children sleeping on the ground without mat made me restless for several days. When I went back alone one early evening at around 6pm, I strolled up to the portion of the boulevard in front of the Aristocrat Restaurant in Ermita. I saw the same scenes – people lying on spread cloths and blankets on the grass.

When Boy Loquias, a new PAL recruit who was undergoing training at the PAL Training Center at the Gate 1 of Nichols Air Base joined us at the boarding house, I was glad upon learning that he was from Bohol which afforded me the opportunity to speak in Cebuano more often. When I brought him to the then, Dewey Boulevard, he was amazed to find the boulevard sleepers. Jokingly, he said that we better join them rather than spend for the boarding house. Honestly, however, he confided that something must be done to help them and asked, “asa ang SWA?” (“where is SWA?”, for which he meant Department of Social Welfare or DSW). When I mentioned giving them cheap “tikug” mat from Mindanao, he agreed. During the time, a piece of said mat was priced between 40-50pesos at the Islamic Center in Quiapo, unlike today that a single-sized costs between 120-150pesos. “Tikug” mats which are colorfully dyed are made in Cotabato.

From then on, I scrimped on my personal needs to save for mats. When Boy Loquias learned about my plan, he gave me part of his training allowance. Another co-boarder, Sammy, who was a member of the combo that performed at the Ugnayan Beer House, across our boarding house, also contributed. Initially, we were able to purchase 2 dozens of mats for which I was able to get a discount. It was not enough. I raised another amount from my saved per diem allowance, as my job then, required me to travel a lot. I also refused to accept the contribution of Boy whose allowance was just enough for his needs, especially, from Sammy who had two kids left with his wife in Naga City.

My visits to the Islamic Center in Quiapo for purchases of “tikug” mats led to my side trips to “Avenida” known for prostitutes who could be seen prowling the avenue for prospective customers, from early afternoon to early morning, the following day. I was staggered by what I observed and experienced at the Avenida. Daringly-dressed women openly made proposals while holding my hand but which I gently refused. On early mornings, not yet 7AM, thickly-rouged and obviously ageing prostitutes would ask an amount for a cup of coffee in exchange for sexual favor. From such encounters, I was able to strike friendship with many of them that developed into trust which became my passport to their dwellings in the slum along the banks of Reina Regente River. There, I met snatchers, swindlers, sex peddlers and their families. As pre-planned, I did not give them my real identity for my own safety. What they knew was that I was a job-seeker from the province and my thick Cebuano accent helped a lot, as many of them were also Bisaya.

Events oozing with colorful adventures made my curiosity stronger that led me farther to Arranque, Divisoria, Pritil, Malabon, Bagong Bayan (Dasmariἧas, Cavite), Tala Leprosarium, and Baseco Compound where I was able let out my pent up desire to share. It also led me to three other guys who had the same desire and with whom blessings were shared with those dwelling along the bank of Pasig River and Recto yearly, from the last week of November to the first week of December.

My advocacy was nurtured while I was a student of Notre Dame of Tacurong (NDTC) and nobody, even my family and closest friends knew about it, not even my colleagues in PAL later on, except Boy Loquias who was assigned at Tablas after his training, and where he raised his family. It was only when I shared my “adventures” on facebook due to the prodding of some friends, though with much hesitation, that they came to know about them. I just consoled myself with the thought that my sharing such adventures would, hopefully, make others realize that one need not be rich to be able to share blessings with others…and, that they can do the same, if they wish.

The Albertos and Valenzuelas of Barangay Mangelen in President Quirino, Province of Sultan Kudarat (Philippines)…and their Political Leadership

THE ALBERTOS AND VALENZUELAS  OF BARANGAY  MANGELEN  IN PRESIDENT QUIRINO,  PROVINCE OF SULTAN KUDARAT….AND THEIR POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

For one thing, Barangay Mangelen is the birthplace of the current mayor of President Quirino, Hon. Azel Valenzuela- Mangudadatu, and whose mother belongs to the Alberto family that was among those the pioneers who tilled the once swampy land of what was once part of Suben. On the other hand, the current Barangay Chairman is her younger sister, Hon. Cherry Valenzuela. But what is more interesting is that the founder of the barangay Mangelen was her grandfather,  Mariano Alberto, father of her mom, Lolita. It’s the trust of the early residents that made her late father Medencio,  become the undefeated barangay Chairman of the fledgling “barrio”. An uncle, Virgilio Alberto also had a stint as a one-termer barangay Chairman, and I was fortunate to have met him in the morning of May 19, 2020 when I visited him at their home. I learned that he was also a one-termer Vice-Mayor of Presidente Quirino, formerly known as Sambolawan, which together with Tacurong City, were former “barrios” of Buluan,  a flourishing Maguindanao town that benefited from the flow of commerce along the Big River or “Rio Grande” that sliced through it.

 

The Albertos has a long history of political leadership.  According to Mr. Virgilio Alberto who was a retired military officer,  their father, Mariano who was then a Councilor of Buluan founded Barangay Mangelen on the land that was donated by Datu Luminog who was then, the mayor of the aforementioned town…that was during the early 1960s. Virgilio’s sister, Lolita married Medencio Valenzuela, and whose eldest daughter, AZEL, married to a Mangudadatu, is currently, the mayor of President Quirino. Her younger sister, Cherry is currently, the barangay Chairman of their birthplace, Mangelen. The rest of the siblings are Sheila Mae, Jennifer, and Novy.

The  Albertos and Valenzuelas  arrived in the vast wetland in 1935 during which the homestead program was at its height.  The area that they settled in, was politically part of Suben. Further east, the area  was then known as Sambolawan. The patriarch of the Albertos, Mariano who was married to Justiniana,  embarked on  a political career that landed him a post  as one of the Councilors of Buluan, a good arrangement as he represented the settlers in Suben.  As the settlement grew, Mayor Luminog decided to separate it from Suben, and in the process donated the land that they have been cultivating. To show their gratitude, the settlers named their “barrio” Mangelen after Mayor Luminog Mangelen.

 

With the establishment of the barrio of Mangelen  that was weaned from Suben to become  a new political unit under Buluan, Mariano Alberto was chosen by the settlers to become their first “Teniente del Barrio”. The son, Virgilio had his chance to spearhead their barangay for one term, and later became the Vice-mayor of President Quirino. His brother –in-law, Medencio Valenzuela and husband of his younger sister, Lolita also became a Barangay Chairman but he recorded a feat as the undefeated leader until he finally decided to give way to other trusted fellow Ilocanos.  As fate would have it, two of his children inherited his political leadership….Cherry who is the current Barangay Chairperson of Mangelen, one of the barangays of President Quirino, at the helm of which as the current mayor is Azel who is married to a Mangudadatu of Buluan.

 

During my talk with Mr. Virgilio Alberto, he fondly recalled his 28 years in his combined police and military career.  He confided that he was a police officer when he was called to render duty in the military during the Martial Law, the time of dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.  As he got no choice, he tried his best to do his job well until the time of his retirement. He met his wife, Susan, who was then, teaching at the Lyceum of Southern Philippines in Tacurong.  The couple is blessed with eight offspring: Robinson, Ricardo, Rafael, Virgilio Jrl, Glenn, Virna, Lochinvar and Dexter. When I visited the family, I was with my nephew, Nonoy who is their godchild during his baptism and his marriage.

At the rate good things are going including a provincial road being constructed towards the direction of the western barangays that include Mangilala,  to connect with the Alunan highway that cuts through Tacurong  and leads towards South Cotabato, Mangelen is  definitely facing a bright future.

 

1

 

The Philippines: From Commonwealth to the Present

THE PHILIPPINES: from Commonwealth
to the Present
By Apolinario Villalobos

From the Philippine Commonwealth that evolved into Republican form, despite the many years that transpired, the promises of presidential candidates did not change their course which is supposedly towards the uplift of Filipinos and the advancement of the country. The graft and corruption in the government just got worse, much more with poverty which is very evident despite the “encouraging” statistics. Prices of commodities are sky-high and jobs are on contract. Today, only Chinese businesses are flourishing in the country.

The Commonwealth government under Quezon was cut short by the WWII. But during his time, the Americans already observed the culture-based administration of the government which was hinged on “gratitude”, “brotherhood”, and “kinship”. The Post-war era of independence saw the granting of independence to the country, transforming the Commonwealth to Republican under Osmeῆa. As the country was still reeling from the effects of the WWII, it was in total disarray. This situation bred profiteering on the part of the businessmen and graft on the part of the government officials, resulting to the much dissatisfaction and dismay of the masses.

The dissatisfaction of the Filipinos was perceived as an opportunity of enterprising and ambitious politicians for grabbing the power from Osmeῆa. As a last effort, Osmeῆa reorganized the government by signing an Executive Order in March 7, 1945, restoring the Executive departments. Unfortunately, Osmeῆa was perceived as lame by the then, Governor-General, MacArthur, who coerced him to convene Congress. Many were against the convening of Congress, then, as it might fall into the hands of the “collaborators” of the WWII, one of whom was Manuel Roxas who fortunately, despite his being a former “collaborator”, was favored by the support of MacArthur.

Among those that the newly-convened Congress approved was a three-year back pay to its members, which was equivalent to the three-year Japanese occupation of the country. It was a telling premonition of more self-serving Congressional actions to happen. The employees followed suit with their own demand for similar back pay covering the same period but was not granted due to unavailability of fund. The cunning Roxas perceived the dissatisfaction of the employees as an opportunity to back up his bid for presidency. He authored the Back Pay Law which was eventually passed in 1948. It gave three years back pay to all pre-war government employees in 1958, after a ten-year period during which the government would have already saved enough funds.

The country did not gain much from Roxas when he held the reins of the government. Graft and corruption still proliferated. But his prominence became more pronounced when the provision on Parity Rights of the Americans was inserted in the Philippine Constitution. Hours before he died, he again committed the loyalty of the Filipinos to the Americans. His true color as “collaborator”, first with the Japanese during WWII, and later, with the Americans, surfaced till the time he drew his last breath.

Quirino took over the presidency when Roxas died. He promised “government reorganization to achieve efficiency at all levels of the bureaucracy, immediate increased production to give employment to thousands of idle laborers, vigorous and honest enforcement of tax laws, the preservation of the national integrity, and continued friendly relations with the countries of the world”. The Hukbalahap movement just became active because of unresolved agrarian issues during Quirino’s administration, and due to the worsening corruption. He wisely gave an all-out support to his Secretary of National Defense, Ramon Magsaysay who was perceived as honest and with unquestionable ability to lead, who somehow mellowed the administration’s strong image of ineptness . The charisma of Magsaysay brought him nearer to the masses.

When Magsaysay became president with the help of the CIA, he unfortunately, went beyond the tolerable treatment of the masses. His pampering of the masses, made them over-dependent to the government, resulting to their idleness. He went to the extent of opening the gates of Malacaῆan to them, practically resulting to the presidential official residence’s transformation into a “park”. During his term, he promised, the improvement of the land tenure system with land resettlements, easy-term credit for the peasants, intense community development founded on self-help. To support those promises, the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) in Palawan was established in 1955, as well as, the Farmers’ Cooperative and Marketing Association (FACOMA). It was also during this time that Visayans and those from the north, rushed to Mindanao to clear cogon-covered fields. To date, among the results of the resettlement effort were General Santos and Koronadal cities. General Santos City was formerly, “Dadiangas”, while Koronadal City was formerly, “Marbel”.
Magsaysay realizing his mistakes for pampering the common “tao”, was reported to have lost his temper several times, one of which was when he “exploded”, saying: “the people want me to do everything for them!”. His ten-point program was never realized when he met an accident while on board the presidential airplane in March 17, 1957 on the way back to Manila from a speaking engagement in Cebu. The ill-fated airplane was later found on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu. Vice-President Carlos P. Garcia took over the presidency with the demise of Magsaysay. It was alleged that Magsaysay did a corrupt act by posting newspapermen in important government offices, as well as, extended to them favors that not even government officials were lucky to have a share.

The presidential election in 1957 confirmed the presidency of Garcia, although, the said process was said to be the noisiest and most expensive in the country’s history until the time. It was during this time that the Catholic Church was dragged into the chaos, which however, proved that the votes of the Catholics were not reliably solid. Diosdado Macapagal who belonged to the opposition won as Vice-President.

During his term, Garcia promised: “to complete the Philippine economic independence through the adoption of the Filipino First Policy….; to establish Filipino dignity as a free people by dealing with foreign powers on terms of sovereign equality; to achieve a balanced economy by providing equal impetus to agriculture and industry; to promote social justice and the general welfare of the masses, and; to minimize and, if possible, to eradicate graft and corruption”. Just like his predecessors however, Garcia also failed, as the poor not only multiplied but continued to suffer from poverty, while the economy was at its worse.

The people’s disillusionment of how Garcia administered the government, steered Diosdado Macapagal towards victory when he made a bid for presidency. Graft and corruption were the focus of all issues against Garcia which Macapagal used to his advantage. When he won, Macapagal promised: “the immediate restoration of economic stability, alleviate the common man’s plight, and establish a dynamic basis for future growth.” He added to strengthen the deteriorating moral fiber of the people. Unfortunately, a few months after he was sworn in, his province mates indulged in extravagant celebrations, with him and his family at the center. Such flagrant show of opulence went on which slighted the Filipinos much. Macapagal will however, be remembered with his nationalistic decision to move the Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, and the Land Reform Code which unfortunately was not implemented effectively.

The nepotism, graft and corruption issues were used by Ferdinand Marcos against Macapagal when the former ran for president. The Filipinos, for having no choice and who had been clamoring for change, voted for him.

Among the presidents, it was Marcos who openly admitted that the country was in a dire crisis situation, and to arrest the further deterioration of the country, he promised: “self-sufficiency in the production of rice and the diversification of crops, implementation of the land reform program, and intensification of the community development program. During his time, the country experienced a phenomenal infra-structure boom, to support the drummed up tourism and industrialization efforts of the government. Not satisfied with the Constitution-mandated tenure, he declared Martial Law, to supposedly prevent the Communist take-over of the country. The drastic move was accepted for several years by the Filipinos, until the issue on the murder of Benigno Aquino erupted.

The People Power Revolution in 1987 toppled the dictatorship of Marcos and installed Cory Aquino as President. Issues that her administration faced were recovery of the people’s money, replenishment of the dried up budget, and corruption that was not totally swept out of the system. Her tenure did not accomplish much for the recovery of the country until she was taken over by Fidel Ramos during whose administration there was a spree of privatization and selling of government properties. As the Filipinos got tired of the same economic and political mishaps of presidents, they gave a chance to Joseph Estrada from the movie world, and who promised “heaven”, and something “new”…indeed, corruption with a “new” face, that just got worse. The recurring despair of the people brought Gloria Arroyo to power. Despair again made the Filipinos look for another leader, and this time they bit the bait dangled by the old-time crooks who used the “martyrdom” of Ninoy Aquino to push the presidency of Pnoy Aquino…. TODAY, RODRIGO DUTERTE IS AT THE HELM OF THE COUNTRY.

The rest is history, literally, because as stated in the pages of the Philippine history, the same problems are the issues today– graft, corruption, nepotism, poverty. But many Filipinos are keeping their fingers crossed that President Duterte who was catapulted to power due to the aggravating drug problem in the country, would make true his promise of eliminating even the graft and corruption in the government.

 

ANTONETTE…nakadanas mangalakal at tumira sa bangketa, hanggang maging eskolar sa kolehiyo

ANTONETTE…NAKADANAS MANGALAKAL AT
TUMIRA SA BANGKETA, HANGGANG MAGINS ESKOLAR SA KOLEHIYO
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Si Antonette ay nag-iisang anak ni Minda na nagtitinda ng kape, tinapay at tsitserya sa bangketa malapit sa Sta. Monica St. ng Ermita na nai-blog ko two days ago. Nahiya akong tanungin noong unang nag-usap kami kung single mom si Minda pero mabuti na lang at siya mismo ang nagsabi na maliit pa si Antonette ay namatay na ang tatay nito nang magkita kami uli. Bumalik ako sa puwesto ni Minda upang maghatid ng kumot at ilang gamit. Mabuti rin at napaunlakan ang pakiusap kong makita si Antonette kaya walang kaabug-abog na sindundo siya ni Minda mula sa inuupahan nilang maliit na kuwarto.

Sa mabilis na pag-uusap namin ni Antonette, nalaman kong eskolar pala siya, kaya sa isang semester ay mahigit lang ng kaunti sa sampung libong piso lang binabayaran sa Universidad de Manila subalit malaki ang nagagastos pa rin sa mga project at iba pang requirements para sa kurso niyang Business Administration. Ang allowance niya sa isang araw ay 150pesos. Second year na siya at napansin ko ang hawak niyang lumang cellphone na inamin niyang ginagamit niya sa kanyang pag-research. Tulad ng ginagawa ng ibang mga kinakapus na estudyante, naghahanap siya ng libreng wifi site upang makapag-browse. Hindi nila kaya ang bayad sa internet café na ang singil ay hindi bababa sa 30pesos kada oras. Hindi ko na tinanong kung saan galing ang cellphone dahil baka isipin niyang masyado akong maurirat.

Nang makiusap ako kung pwede akong sumama sa kanya sa inuupahan nilang kuwarto ay malugod niya akong pinagbigyan. Mula sa puwesto ng nanay niya ay nilakad namin ang di-kalayuang kanto ng Sta. Monica at pumasok kami sa isang maliit na sidestreet. Naalala ko ang mga eskinita sa Baseco compound na pinapasok ko habang binabaybay namin ang eskinitang maputik at sa isang gilid ay mga barung-barong. Akala ko, nang pumasok kami sa isang maliit na pinto, nandoon na ang kuwarto. Ang ground floor ay marami ring maliliit na kuwarto. Pumasok pa kami sa isang maliit na pinto bago itinuro ni Antonette ang butas sa itaas na animo ay manhole lang sa laki. Ito ang “lulusutan” papunta sa “second floor”.

Sa tabi ng matarik o halos patayong hagdan papunta sa “second floor” ay may isa pang kuwarto na ang pinakatakip ay kurtina. Hahawiin ko sana out of curiosity kung hindi ko narinig ang, “may tao pa kuya”….CR pala! Unang “lumusot” si Antonette sa butas papunta sa “kuwarto” niya at sumunod ako. Dahil sa kalakihan ko ay halos hindi ako kasya at kinabahan pa ako dahil sa dulas ng matarik na hagdanang gawa lang sa maliliit na pinagtagpi-tagping kahoy.

Ang kuwarto ay talagang maliit. Kung ako siguro ang hihiga sa loob ay nakalabas ang mga paa ko sa pinto. Para lang itong malaking cabinet. Walang bintana at ang pinanggagalingan ng hangin ay isang maliit na electric fan. Ang upa sa kuwarto ay 1,500 pesos isang buwan, libre nga lang ang tubig at ilaw kaya pinagtitiyagaan ng mag-ina. Ang nakakabahala lang ay kung magkaroon ng sunog. Siguradong lahat ng nakatira sa lugar na yon ay masasawi.

Nang bumalik ako kay Minda, tinanong ko siya kung bakit wala halos siyang paninda ganoong maaga pa. Wala raw siyang pambili at ayaw pa muna siyang pautangin ng Bombay at nagpaparinig pa daw ito na mahirap maningil kaya dapat ay magbayad pa daw muna siya ng balance. Nag-alala nga daw siya dahil sa sinabi ng anak na aabot na sa mahigit 600pesos ang mga kailangan para sa kanyang mga kailangan sa eskwelahan. Mabuti na lang at hindi ko pa nagastos ang 500pesos na pambili sana ng mga payong kaya inabot ko na muna sa kanya upang magamit nila. Pati ang payong na gamit ko ay iniwan ko kay Antonette dahil wala pala itong payong. Dahil kulang na ang pamasahe ko pauwi sa Cavite, pinagkasya ko ang mga barya hanggang sa Buendia (Pasay) at dahil umuulan ay patakbu-takbo ako upang makarating sa bahay ng isang kaibigan na inutangan ko ng pera para magamit sa pagbili ng mga payong sa Baclaran bago umuwi sa Cavite. Mabuti na lang at inabot ko ang kaibigan kong paalis na sana kung hindi bumagsak ang ulan. Ang mga payong ay para sa mga pinangakuan kong mga estudyante noon pa, at ang iba ay pambenta ng mag-asawang may sanggol na nakilala ko sa Luneta.

Babalikan ko sina Minda upang dalhin kay Antonette ang mga gamit na naitabi ko na magagamit niya tulad ng laptop bag dahil ang ginagamit niya ay maliit na backpack lang….

Ang Baha sa Manila, Ang Manila Bay, Ang Pasig River, at “High Tide”

ANG BAHA SA MANILA, ANG MANILA BAY,  ANG PASIG RIVER,  AT “HIGH TIDE”

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ang baha sa Manila ay hindi dahil lang sa tuloy-tuloy na malakas na ulan nang kung ilang araw kundi dahil sa kawalan ng labasan ng tubig kung sumabay ang “high tide” o pagtaas ng tubig sa dagat kaya natatakpan  ang mga outlet o labasan ng tubig mula sa mga establisemento tulad ng hotel, restaurants, carinderias, at mga tirahan ng mga tao tulad ng mga bahay at  condominiums. Ang iba ay dumidiretso sa Manila Bay at ang iba ay lumalabas muna sa Pasig River.

 

Ang  tubig ng Pasig River ay sa Manila Bay dumadaloy o lumalabas. Maraming bayan ang dinadaan ng Pasig River na nakadugtong din sa Laguna de Bay at Marikina River kaya lahat ng mga bayan  na umaasa sa Pasig River bilang labasan ng tubig o outlet ay apektado din ng baha. Kapag high tide kaya tumataas ang tubig sa Manila Bay, hindi na nakakalabas dito ang tubig mula sa Pasig River, at kung sinabayan ng malakas na ulan, baha ang resulta.

 

Ang mga dating labasan ng tubig mula sa mga lumang bahay at business establishments sa Manila na sinimulang gawin noong panahon ng Kastila ay masyadong mababa kaya bumabalik sa mga ito ang tubig kapag hindi makalabas sa Pasig River kung high tide o tumaas ang tubig sa Manila Bay, KAHIT WALANG ULAN.

 

Hindi lang Manila ang apektado ng high tide na nagsasanhi ng baha kundi pati na rin ang Las Pinas, Paranaque at Cavite na ang ang hantungan ng dumadaloy mula sa drainage system nila ay  Manila Bay. Nang magkaroon ng reclamation project sa Manila Bay na tinayuan ng isang maunlad na distrito, nangyari ang pinangangambahan ng mga taga-Paranque  at ilang bahagi ng Las Pinas dahil “nasakal” ang dati ay maluwag na daluyan ng tubig mula sa mga ito patungo sa Manila Bay, kaya mabilis ang pagkaroon ng baha sa kanila kung tag-ulan.

 

Ang Marikina River ay nagdudugtong sa  Pasig River kaya kung bumalik ang tubig mula sa Manila tuwing high tide na sinabayan ng malakas na ulan, matinding baha din ang resulta.  Ang mga ilog na mula sa bulubunduking bahagi ng Rizal ay sa Marikina River din dumadaloy kaya nakakadagdag sila sa mabilis na pagtaas ng tubig na sanhi ng mabilis na pag-apaw.

 

HIGIT SA LAHAT, MAS MABABA ANG MANILA KAYSA WATER LEVEL NG DAGAT NA NOON PA LANG AY ALAM NA….AT DAHIL MAS MABABA KUNG IHAMBING SA IBA PANG MGA NAKAPALIGID NA BAYAN,  ITO ANG   PINAKALABASAN NG TUBIG MULA SA PASIG RIVER PAPUNTA SA MANILA BAY.

(The image of the Pasig River is from the Google archive.)

PASIG RIVER 1

 

Sa Pag-unlad ng mga Bayan, Uunlad din ang Buong Bansa…pero, maayos na sistema ang kailangan

SA PAG-UNLAD NG MGA BAYAN, UUNLAD DIN ANG BUONG BANSA

…pero, maayos na sistema ang kailangan

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Upang mapaunlad ang mga bayan, ang unang dapat bigyan ng pansin ay ang “purchasing power” ng mamamayan o kakayaha nilang bumili. Paano silang magkaroon nito?…dapat ay may pinagkikitaan sila kahit paano sa anumang malinis na paraan – pagtinda sa palengke na may puwesto o sa bangketa man lang kung market day, pagtulak ng karitong may paninda, paglibot ng mga paninda gamit ang “topdown”. Kapag  kumikita ng maayos ang mga mamamayan, sisigla ang malalaking grocery, mga mall, mga kainan, etc. Kapag nakita ito ng mga investors, magtatayo sila ng mga negosyo, ng mga building na magiging opisina. Kapag lalo pang sumigla ang negosyo, lalo pang lalaki ang kikitain ng mga LGu sa pamamagitan ng buwis. Kapag malaki ang buwis ng mga LGU marami na silang magagawang project….basta hindi lang mahaluan ng corruption.

 

Hindi dahil “malinis” sa paningin ang isang bayan ay maganda na itong palatandaan na umuunlad ito. Ang ibig kong sabihin sa “malinis” ay ang RESULTA NG WALANG PATUMANGGANG PAGTANGGAL SA MALILIIT NA NEGOSYANTE SA KANILANG KINALALAGYAN KUNG WALA SILANG MALILIPATAN….YAN ANG DAPAT NA ISAALANG-ALANG NG LGU. HINDI DAPAT BASTA  MAGTANGGAL KUNG WALANG MAPAGLILIPATAN SA KANILA. ANO ANG GAGAWIN NITO SA MGA MAGUGUTOM DAHIL WALA NANG MAPAGKIKITAAN?

 

Kapag nawalan ng mapagkikitaan ang mga dislocated na maliliit na mga negosyante, istambay ang labas nila dahil walang ginagawa at dahil ayaw nilang magutom ang pamilya may mag-iisip na gagawa ng masama – magnakaw, magtulak ng shabu, ang mga anak na babaeng tumigil sa pag-aaral ay papasok sa mga beer house, ang mga anak na lalaki na tumigil sa pag-aaral ay magiging call boy o batang holdaper o runner ng mga nagbebenta ng shabu. Marami akong nakausap na ganyan sa Manila slum areas kaya ko sini-share. Yong walang ganyang karanasan na napagdaanan ko, huwag mamilosopo. May kasabihang “kapit sa patalim” at ganyan ang nangyayari kapag ang tao ay hindi na makatiis ng gutom.

 

KAPAG MAUNLAD ANG MGA BAYAN, SIGURADONG UUNLAD ANG BUONG BANSA…PERO DAPAT AY MAY MAAYOS NA SISTEMANG PAGBATAYAN…HINDI PABARA-BARANG PERSONAL NA KAGUSTUHAN LANG NG MGA OPISYAL UPANG MAGING SIKAT.