(The author is a Grade 10 and 15-year old student of the Tacurong National High School. The essay garnered First Prize during the Essay Writing Contest in commemoration of the National Disaster Resilience Month held at the Tacurong Pilot Elementary School on July 3, 2018. Her coach is Ms. Marites Goce.)



By Joanna Marie Goloyugo



Humans are given the gift of life and have very strong survival instinct. The need to preserve life courses down through their mind and body, especially, when faced with life and death situations. The survival instinct pushes to strive their way out of chaos, forcing them to thin, “I need to stay alive”. Unfortunately, this instinctive urge is not enough to save humans from direly threatening situations that result from unforeseen occurrences caused by Mother Nature, as well as, other human beings. In this regard, there is a need for preparedness as it can mitigate or lessen the physical, mental and emotional trauma when a unforeseen events occur.


The abrupt occurrences of typhoon, floods, earthquakes and other calamities, leave the Philippines shaken and in complete tatters…shambles…disarray. They create chaos in the affected communities and to be blamed partly is the negligence of man.  The victims leave the world, their cold remains viewed for a lasting memory of their loved ones.  Here’s why….despite all the conducted drills, trainings and seminars, the nation still faces devastating results from calamities and disasters. Lives are lost, properties are destroyed, despite which, the people never learn, making the government re-evaluations useless. Lessons are never learned.


The National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) encourages citizens to be prepared for emergency situations. The Republic Act 1-121, NDRRM Act that was implemented on May 2010 has four core functions: Mitigation and Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Rehabilitation and Recovery. They serve as guides in the drills conducted in schools and workplaces, and should also be observed in homes to prepare families for the occurrences that result to huge losses, both in life and property. At the helm of this effort is the Secretary of Department of National Defense (DND), Ricardo Jalad. Its aim is to transform the country’s emergency management system from “Disaster Relief and Response” to “Disaster Risk Reduction”. The aforementioned RA 1-121 repealed the Presidential Decree No. 1566 that was enacted in 1978, the emergency management of which centered only on the hazards and impacts of a disaster or calamity.  On the other hand, the current law provides that the citizens should be prepared for them to know what to do before, during and after an occurrence.


Unfortunately, despite the directives from the government, some agencies both private and public do not conduct drills regularly. If they do, the concerned people treat the drill as some kind of a “play”…without seriousness. This attitude practically, makes the objective of the emergency preparedness fly over their head. In some schools, teachers observed that the students do not give much thought of the drill being conducted. Their nonchalance shows that they do not care much about the importance of the drill and its use for any untoward occurrence in the future. Some are observed without seriousness in practicing the ducking which is about the covering of the head with both hands, a simple act which is neglected by many participants.


When seminars and orientations are conducted by the agency involved in rescue, disaster prevention and risk management, many students are observed as not paying attention to the resource speakers. They chat with away the time with seatmates, play with their cellphones, or worst, skip such activity that their school has painstakingly arranged for them.


Knowledge plays a very important part in a person’s chance for survival. Even a simple rule such as avoiding large or tall objects, trees or buildings due to the possibility of their collapsing, is vital to survival. For this effort, there is a concerted effort among concerned agencies and the schools to make the students aware of the value of disaster preparedness. Along this line, rescue agencies of local governments conduct seminars and trainings in school with the aim of preventing or minimizing the damaging effects on humans and properties.


Meanwhile, the acquired knowledge may not be enough as there is always the possibility for panic to strike, especially, during the actual occurrence of an earthquake for instance and horrific car crash or accident as they make the mind blank which hinders the chances of survival. To quote Laurence Gonzales, the author of the bestselling book, “Deep Survival”, he said, “It’s been proven that if you put someone under pressure, he can’t solve simple mathematical equations or recall a sequence of words.” He added that, “In effect, losing your cool makes you stupid. That’s an oversimplification but emotions and reason work together like a seesaw. The higher emotion a person feels, the lower becomes his ability to reason. But reason is what’s going to get you out of trouble.”


There have been many instances where people know what to do but their emotion becomes unstable and because of extreme pressure and fear, they fail to adapt to the situation at hand. In the case of the well-known tragedy, the sinking of the Titanic, a survivor stated that when the water began to fill the ship, the passengers went into frenzy, jumped out of the window right into the cold ocean…others grabbed a hold to overloaded lifeboats which almost capsize while others just stood still, shocked. As mentioned earlier, though man has the innate survival instinct like animals, but when caught in perilous moment, some chose to stand still like a deer staring at the headlights of an oncoming car, practically waiting to be bumped.


Laurence Gonzalez spent three and a half decades studying survivors’ stories, taking note who have lived or died and reasons why. Finally, he concluded that, “Personality, emotions, attitude and how well a person can cope to adversity have much more to do in survival than any type of equipment.”


To be mentally and emotionally prepared is a very crucial factor in survival. This reminder has been repeatedly mentioned in seminars, trainings, and drills – a statement that holds the key to the gate of survival, summarized in two words, “Don’t Panic”. As aforementioned, it is essentially important to stay collected and calm during chaotic times so that the brains can function properly which includes avoiding careless mistakes or reckless actions which are usually spurred on by the heat of the moment.


LDS psychologist, Dr. Ella Gourgouris, one of the leading experts in Traumatic Stress Response stated, “One of the best ways to get the mind to perform under pressure is to physically practice beforehand. Dr. Terry Lyles, a fellow psychologist under the same department as Dr. Gourgouris also added, “The more prepared you are, the panicked you are going to be when things go wrong. But you have to practice it…it is not enough just to know it.”


The DRRM applies the preparations through seminars ad trainings conducted by agencies, among which are the Red Cross and the Junior Emergency Response Team (JERT) member using scenarios where in which a disaster has hit a community and capable residents apply first aid to the injured. Such activity could create a prepared mindset which is very necessary. In schools, frequent drills and trainings could also create a prepared mindset such that when the alarm is sounded throughout the campus, students are supposed to immediately go to the designated evacuation area with the teachers doing headcounts to make sure that none is missing.


It is suggested that for a better observation of behavior in a threatening situation, unannounced or surprised drills should be conducted with the alarm sounded without prior notice to anyone except the top management of an establishment or institution, for instance. That way, those affected can be observed if they instinctively do the ducking properly, aside from protective acts. After the event, analysis of what have been observed can be made and corrections can be made as necessary. The affected should be made to feel the fear and the accompanying adrenalin rush, aside from the pressure and panic which can be made as basis in the evaluation based on which guidelines on how they could remain calm and cool during adversities could be made, thereby, avoiding eventual death.


Being alive is the most wonderful gift humans have ever received. But staying alive is hard as unexpected events could claim lives as fast as the speed of light. Humans can prevent this by being prepared for any eventuality that does not necessitate being a part of an organization or big group and to be able to help, one need not be a member of a response or rescue team. Know what to do during unfortunate events, hence, having been prepared for these is more than enough to mitigate the nation’s economic losses and human casualties. And, when the unfortunate events occur, institutions and agencies all over the country can proudly exclaim that, “WE ARE PREPARED!”.

JM Adie Goloyugo




Lessons from Marawi Tragedy and the Ongoing NPA Operations

Lessons from Marawi Tragedy

And the Ongoing NPA Operations

By Apolinario Villalobos


Infiltration as a terroristic act has definitely succeeded with the Marawi City devastation as the latest manifestation. The ISIS-professing Maute Group recruited insiders and used them in waging terror in the city in their effort to overthrow the government and replace it with the traditionalist Islamic faction. The group enticed many young Maranaos to join them with tempting huge monetary reward equivalent to the Filipino executive wage. The New People’s Army (NPA) has used this tactic, albeit with threat, instead of financial persuasion. This bandit group has infiltrated remote villages and employed threat in their recruitment campaign and extortion.


The Philippines is helpless against terrorism despite the declaration of the government that everything is in order as far as security is concerned. Such assurance is ridiculous because the country’s coastal fronts are pathetically protected by the inadequate facilities of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard. Many forested areas and remote villages have become lairs of bandits and rebels. Military outposts in remote areas are inadequately and inconsistently manned….beefed up only when there are reported attacks by the unfriendly elements. And, most especially, the military equipments are outdated. Add to that the dwindling number of combatants. The aforementioned are reasons why the Philippine military is very far from being successful in their drive against the Abu Sayyaf based in Basilan and the splintered NPA that turned bandits….and now, the Maute Group. There is a clear indication that the military need for manpower and equipment must be given attention soonest as possible.




Not taking things for granted is what I mean by the “lesson” that the Armed Forces of the Philippines should learn from the Marawi tragedy and the NPA operations. The AFP brags about its accomplishments based on the number of dead police and soldier, and promises to fulfill commitments on certain dates. Unfortunately, the promises remain as unfulfilled promises.


To help Duterte maintain a reputable image, the AFP should stop making promises and act more appropriately…period.

Ang Ulap at Pangarap

Ang  Ulap at Pangarap

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa kalawakan, nakakatuwa silang masdan

Lumulutang, animo bulak, iba’t- ibang anyo

Sa isang iglap ay napakabilis ng pagbabago

Bigay ay ligaya sa nakakaramdan ng siphayo.

Sa kalawakang maaliwalas at kulay bughaw

Animo ay mga gasa at mangilan-ngilan lang

Kaya’t sa kanilang kalat-kalat na kanipisan –

Langit ay mistulang hubad kung pagmasdan.

Mga puting ulap, minsan ay nagkukulay abo

Badya ay masamang panahon, bagyo’t ulan

Sa kapal, kalawakan nama’y nalalambungan

Na nagdudulot ng pagkulimlim sa kalupaan.

Ganyan din ang buhay, mayroong mga ulap –

Sila’y pangarap, maraming hugis, kaaya-aya

Silang sa buhay natin, ang dulot ay pag-asa

At sa bawa’t tao, mga hugis nila ay magkaiba.

Subali’t kung mamalasin ang isang nangarap

Ang magandang hugis nito’t kulay ay nag-iiba

Nagiging abo, nalulusaw, hanggang mawala –

Na sa kalooban ng iba, ang dulot ay panghihina.

Subali’t hindi dapat manimdim ang nakaranas

Dahil may kasabihang sa kabila nitong mga ulap

Ay may pag-asang nakalaan para sa ating lahat –

Basta magtiyaga upang matamo ang pangarap!

Negligence Plus Corruption Equals Disaster

Negligence Plus Corruption Equals Disaster
By Apolinario Villalobos

The latest fire disaster in Valenzuela that is now considered as the worst to date has again put under scrutiny how local governments units and government agencies operate. As expected, the ongoing investigation is hampered by appalling finger-pointing among parties concerned. With the glaring building violations committed by the owner of the factory, can’t the investigators at least start from that point? And, then go further by asking who conducted the inspection and made the recommendation for the issuance of the building permit? They can check also the negligence of the welder. Finally, proceed as to who issued, or better, signed the building permit? Why the owners of the factory are still scot-free, is also one big question, and there is no indication whatsoever that they are being investigated! How can the local government and the law enforcing agencies be that lenient and numb to the reality?

The latest disaster just confirms that the operating system of the government cannot be trusted as it is pockmarked with dishonesty, corruption and negligence. The latter happens when, in the processing of building permits, no follow-ups by government offices concerned are made for delayed submission of requirements that should be an alarming signal for fishy goings-on between the implementing personnel and the clients. Such negligence eventually results to the oversight – with folders containing incomplete required documents, and only when disaster occurs, do they recall having overlooked incomplete transactions….but, only after lives have been wasted!

Disaster drills, though, required are neglected for implementation by many companies. If ever pressed for the holding of such, they are done half-heartedly, so that employees fail to have a notion on what to do in case the real disaster occurs. Inspecting agencies that require them just shrug their shoulders and don’t give a damn. In some cases, approvals are even given in exchange for favors. In this regard, a friend who used to work as an inspection officer of a local government unit was able to buy a brand new car from this kind of endeavor. He honestly admitted that he resigned as he had been bothered by his conscience and suffered from sleepless nights.

With the onset of the school opening, we expect well-publicized and supposedly full blast “inspections” of dormitories and boarding houses for students. Expect too, the pronouncements of inspectors as regards the number of establishments that they ordered closed, to show the world that they are diligently doing their job – supported with photos. Allow two months or a little more and everything will be again back to “normal”. It is always like that. Do we then, have to continuously wonder and exclaim a big “why”, every time people are trapped and died in buildings without fire exit or with malfunctioning water sprinklers?

On the other hand and in all honesty, if the law on fire prevention and building safety will be implemented strictly, for sure, only a handful structures, from homes to commercial buildings will be left standing!

Unawain na lang ang Ugali ni Pnoy, hindi man natin ito gusto….pero dapat handa siyang managot pagbaba niya sa puwesto

Unawain na lang ang Ugali ni Pnoy, hindi man natin ito gusto
…pero dapat handa siyang managot pagbaba niya
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

May punto ang isang propesora ng UP na ininterbyu sa pagsabi na huwag pilitin ang pangulo kung ayaw niyang humingi ng tawad dahil sa kapalpakan ng operasyon sa Mamasapano na naging sanhi ng kamatayan ng 44 SAF commandos, at ilang sibilyang lokal na naipit sa palitan ng putok.

Paulit-ulit na pinalulutang ang mga mali ng pangulo, tulad ng: pagbigay ng pahintulot sa suspendidong hepe ng PNP na si Purisima na makialam sa operasyon; pag-etsa puwera kay Roxas na hepe ng DILG at sa OIC ng PNP sa mga huling pakikipag-usap niya kay Purisima at Napeῆas; at ang hindi pagbigay ng karampatang halaga o urgency sa operasyon, kaya hindi niya na-monitor at naging dahilan upang hindi siya makapagbigay ng mas malinaw na desisyon nang maipit na sa Mamasapano ang mga SAF commandos. Sa kabila ng lahat, walang epek sa pangulo ang nangyaring trahedya, kaya ang pinaka-simpleng “I am sorry” ay hindi man lang niya nasambit.

Sa isang talumpati, umasta siyang “ama” na nawalan daw ng mga “anak”….hanggang doon na lang. Ang tinutukoy niya ay ang pagkamatay ng mga SAF commandos. Subalit ang magpakita na siya’y kinokonsiyensiya kaya dapat siyang himingi siya ng pasensiya, ay hindi man lang pumasok sa kanyang isipan.

Ang tingin ngayon ng mga Pilipino sa pangulo ay isang sinungaling. Ang masaklap sa ginagawa niyang pagtatakip sa kasalanan gamit ang kasinungalingan ay lumalala habang naglalabas siya ng mga saloobin na nakaangkla pa rin sa kasinungalingan. Sa halip na mabawasan ang mga kasinungalingan ay lalo pang nanganganak ang mga ito, hanggang sa umabot sa puntong wala nang makitang paraan upang siya ay makabawi, DAHIL SA PAGKAPATONG-PATONG NA NG MGA KASINUNGALINGAN.

Paano niyang i-deny ang mga na-rekord na niyang mga nakaraang talumpati na salungat sa mga kasalukuyan niyang sinasabi? Tulad na lamang ng may lakas-loob niyang pagsabi na ang BOI report ang magbibigay ng linaw sa kaso ng Mamasapano kaya ni hindi na niya kailangan pang bigyan ng kopya nito. Ni hindi siya nagpaunlak ng interbyu at bandang huli, dahil sa ugali niyang paninisi, pati si Roxas ay sinisi, at hindi daw nagparating ng imbitasyon ng BOI sa kanya para sa isang interbyu, ganoong maaari naman talaga siyang magkusa. Ang malinaw ay nag-presume siya na magiging kuntento na ang BOI sa pag-pick up ng mga impormasyon mula sa kanyang mga talumpati. Subalit nang lumabas ang resulta na nagdidiin sa kanya, nataranta yata kaya pinatawag ang BOI sa Malakanyang! Nang mabisto ng media ang miting niya sa BOI at pinasabog ito, napahiya yata kaya, buong “katapangan” na nagsabi ang Malakanyang na hindi nila babaguhin ang BOI report…dapat lang dahil bago nakarating sa kanila ang isang kopya, may nabigyan nang mga ibang tao!

Pwede nang tanggapin ang sinasabi ng Malakanyang na may prerogative si Pnoy o may karapatan sa paraan ng pagbigay ng kautusan na maaaring sumira ng umiiral na “chain of command”, PERO DAPAT IHANDA NIYA ANG SARILI NIYA SA RESULTA AT TANGGAPIN KUNG ITO AY PALPAK KAHIT PA MAY PANANAGUTAN DIN ANG KANYANG INUTUSAN…KAYA, PAREHO SILANG DAPAT MANAGOT…LALO NA SIYA BILANG TAONG NAGBIGAY NG UTOS!

Hindi makakawala sa pananagutan ang pangulo sa kanyang pananagutan dahil sa trahedyang nangyari sa Mamasapano. Hindi siya maaaring maghugas- kamay, dahil kaakibat ng responsibilidad niya bilang lider ang tumanggap ng sisi sa mga bagay na may direkta siyang kinalaman dahil sa prinsipyo ng “command responsibility”.

Ang hinihintay ng maraming Pilipino ay ang pagbato ni Pnoy ng paninisi kay Gloria Arroyo dahil sa nangyaring trahedya sa Mamasapano! Isang classic na kwento yan kung sakali na only in the Philippines mangyayari! Dapat mag-ingat si Pnoy dahil baka mag-krus pa ang kanilang landas pagbaba niya sa puwesto, kung hindi matuloy ang nilalakad na pagpa-confine ni Gloria Arroyo sa kanilang bahay dahil sa lumalala niyang kalagayan.

Hindi daw Masaker and Nangyari sa Mamasapano…sabi ni Rosales ng CHR

Hindi daw Masaker ang Nangyari sa Mamasapano
…sabi ni Rosales ng CHR
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Paano kaya ginawa ng CHR ang kanilang imbestigasyon sa Mamasapano? Kahit kaylan talaga, ang ahensiyang ito ay palaging wala sa tono. Ang “mis-encounter” na pinagpipilitin ni Rosales ay hindi rin katanggap-tanggap dahil maaga pa lang ay alam na ng MILF na mga pulis ang kanilang kaputukan. Hindi itinigil ng MILF ang pagpapaputok kahit ang SAF ay tumigil na dahil akala nila ay kinilala na sila ng MILF. Nang lumabas ang mga pulis mula sa taniman ng mais na nakataas ang mga kamay, pinaputukan pa rin sila. Nang bumagsak na ang mga SAF commandos, tinaggalan sila ng bullet-proof vest at pinagbabaril pa rin. May isa pang video na naging viral sa internet na nagpakita ng pagbaril sa isang SAF sa ulo nito ng malapitan. Sa kabila ng mga nabanggit, sinasabi sa report ng CHR na walang masaker na naganap!……ganyan ka-“galing” ang mga ahensiya ni Pnoy!

Sa trahedya na dulot ng bagyong Yolanda, walang ginawa si Rosales upang matulungan ang mga inaping biktima na hindi nakatikim ng tulong dahil sa kapabayaan ng mga ahensiya ng gobyerno. Hindi rin nito pinakialaman ang panloloko sa pagpapatayo ng rehabilitation facilities dahil sa paggamit ng sub-standard na mga materyales. Ang mga pagpapabayang ito sa mga inaping Pilipino ay hindi ba pagyurak sa kanilang karapatan? Bakit hindi man lang kumibo si Rosales at ang CHR niya? Dahil ba BFF niya si Soliman?

Sa Maguindanao massacre, ano ang ginawa ni Rosales? Naghuhumiyaw ang mga ebidensiya ng hindi makataong pagpatay sa mga taong inosente. Bakit hindi tumulong si Rosales sa pakikipaglaban para sa mga naulila ng mga biktima upang lalong bumigat ang kaso ng mga Ampatuan at mga kasabwat nila? Hindi ba niya naisip na kung kikilos siya, maaaring makahingi ng tulong sa international community o kasama nilang ahensiya sa ibang mga bansa upang ma-pressure ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa pagpabilis ng paglitis na sa ngayon ay usad-pagong? Takot ba siya sa mga Ampatuan?

Bakit hindi tutukan ni Rosales ang mga overstaying na mga nakakulong sa Bilibid at iba pang kulungan sa buong bansa, na karamihan ay matatanda, ang iba ay may malalang sakit at halos mamatay na? Lumutang na ang iba sa mga ito ay natalo sa kaso dahil walang pambayad sa abogado. Bakit hindi niya “linisin” ang record ng mga pasilidad na ito upang mabawasan ang laman ng mga kulungan upang lumuwag ang mga ito? Hindi ba makataong karapatan ng mga nakakulong ang magkaroon ng maayos na kulungan kung ang gamit ng correction facilities na ito ay mabago ang takbo ng kanilang buhay tungo sa kabutihan? Malilipatan ang Bilibid sa Nueva Ecija, pero paano ang ibang kulungan? Ayaw ba niyang mag-inspection sa mga kulungan dahil nandidiri siya?

Ano ba talaga ang papel ng CHR na ang ibig sabihin ay COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS? Hanggang ngayon ay marami ang hindi nakakaunawa kung ano ang kanilang pinaggagawa. May mga sitwasyon na dapat nilang pakialaman subalit hindi nila ginagawa dahil siguro maigsi lang ang media mileage.
Ngayon, tatlo na ang mga babae sa administrasyon na friends ng MILF – sina Ferrer, Deles, at Rosales. At kung questionable performance naman ang pag-usapan, apat na silang babae….. pang-apat si Soliman.

The “Forty-four”…policemen heroes of Mamasapano

The “Forty-Four”
…policemen heroes of Mamasapano
By Apolinario Villalobos

At Mamasapano…there at Maguindanao
the “forty-four” met their fate,
Pawned by one whose selfish desire,
Led them to the fatal mire.

Wasted youth …..
but never their courage,
Wasted strength ….
But never their ideals,
That like the wind ……
shall blow without end.

(The “forty-four” policemen, mostly young, were massacred at Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015. They were members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police who tried to serve the warrant of arrest to two notorious terrorists, Abdulbasit Usman and Zulkipli Bin Hir alias Abu Marwan. Unfortunately, the contingent was surprised by an ambush staged by the BIFF, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that claimed “misencounter” due to the lack of coordination, but which most Filipinos did not believe.)

Kristel Mae…..for Kristel Mae “Mhai” Padasas

Kristel Mae
(for Kristel Mae “Mhai” Padasas)
ni Apolinario Villalobos

mga pangarap na sa isang iglap
ay nalusaw nang hindi sinasadya
patunay na ang buhay sa mundo
ay hindi hawak ng sino mang tao

ang buhay, wari’y parang kandila
‘di man mahipan, ito’y nalulusaw
kaya ang tanglaw nito’y nawawala
na sa paligid ay dilim ang nalilikha

may kabuluhan naman ang kandila –
na sa paligid ang dulot ay liwanag
hangga’t ito’y malusaw, o mahipan
at magdudulot naman ng kadiliman

sa nangyari kay Kristel Mae sa Tacloban
marami ang nagitla at di makapaniwala
nguni’t kung ginusto ng Diyos ang lahat
walang makakahadlang kung nararapat

ang ilang araw na kanyang naiambag
ay naging bahagi ng dakilang gawain
‘di mawawala sa isipan ng mga mahal
dahil para sa taong turing nila’y banal!

(Kristel Mae “Mhai” Padasas was a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), and was a volunteer during the papal visit. She was hit by a scaffolding that collapsed due to strong wind at the site in Tacloban where Pope Francis officiated a Mass. She reached the age of 27 without having been spoiled despite her being an only daughter of hardworking parents. Her mother works in Hongkong. She was characterized by friends as humble, jolly and compassionate, finding satisfaction in her involvement in humanitarian and civic activities.)

Accepting a Loss and Moving On

Accepting a Loss and Moving On

By Apolinario Villalobos


Man by nature has the habit of keeping valuables, be they materials or loved ones.

They become investments in life that need to be taken care of and well-guarded. Earned money could provide support in times of distress and comfort upon retirement. It is for this reason that some work so hard “while the iron is hot”, as a popular adage says. For the wise, every opportunity is seized.


On the other hand, some people oftentimes become over- possessive of their friends whom they have gathered to become part of their lives, more so with their families whom they have painstakingly raised through difficulties. Friendship is not easy to develop because it involves patience in dealing with different characters. As with the family, one starts by living under one roof with a partner by virtue of marriage or simple verbal arrangement. Broods are brought forth and the parents are not even sure if all of them will grow up to be good, therefore, effort to develop them well is exerted giving rise to close bonding among the members.  


So many expectations are the offshoot of all the exerted efforts in these investments in life so that unconsciously, a strong attachment to them has become deeply rooted. It becomes not easy to part with any of them. There is always that feeling of great loss. For how can one for instance, be not upset losing in a fire or flood, a house that took many years of saving to be acquired? Or how can one not be upset by the loss of a husband in a plane crash?


At first, there is a strong resistance to the acceptance of truth. But there is a need to understand that everything in this world is not permanent. Only by understanding this fact that one can let go of the valuable, though, how painful it may be.  It may take some time before the pain of loss will go away. The affected should not be overpowered by selfishness in his effort to accept the loss. Failure to go through this stage would mean sacrificing many things – erosion of his good relationship with others due to unconscious development of hate in him and failure on his part to give attention to his other loved ones. Most importantly, the failure to accept will hold him back from moving on.   





Heeding the Call for Peace in Mindanao

Heeding the Call for Peace in Mindanao

By Apolinario Villalobos


March 27, 2014 shall find its space in the annals of the Philippine history as the most significant day that serves as a landmark for the concerted effort in finally planting the seed of peace in identified areas of Mindanao, populated by Muslims, Christians and indigenous tribes. Misunderstanding, that some blame to religion and later, politics, hindered all efforts to establish a lasting homogenous atmosphere in the central, western and southern areas of the biggest island of the country. Decades have been spent by past presidents to ponder on how peace among the diversified people could be achieved, to no avail. Even the attempt of a powerful Middle East country to mediate which resulted to the establishment of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), proved futile. It took a firm resolved from President Noynoy Aquino to finally complete the pages of mutually beneficial provisions that heeded the incessant call for peace and finally put an end to the senseless struggle among Filipinos with diverse faith and culture.


For so many years, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters were lost in pockets of “war”. Villages were abandoned, school buildings were razed to the ground, children were deprived of their basic needs for normal mental and physical development, rice fields were untended and left to the mercy of the cogon grass and talahib (sturdy tropical grass that grow to as tall as seven feet). Affected Filipinos who survived the senseless killings, be they Muslims, Christians or members of indigenous tribes could just cry as they recall the tragedies that befell them.


I was a witness to this. The unrest was the reason why I got hired to work in the Department of Social Welfare that opened an office in our town to serve the evacuees who came in hordes. We would visit evacuation centers in neighboring towns filled with families uprooted from their villages, forced to abandon ripening grains of rice ready for the harvest. We encountered maimed villagers being brought to the hospitals. Practically children stopped going to school as the buildings were used as evacuation centers. In some villages, during “encounters”, we witnessed how Muslims would run in one direction and the Christians in another direction, although, they had been living together for years as neighbors. Those are pathetic scenes that still linger in my mind.


This time around, the survivors have the right to be heard and be given a chance for a peaceful co-existence in Mindanao. I just pray, that those who have selfish motive in the process for peace shall think twice before doing their act …again.