“An Kaayadan niyo, Obligasyon mi”

( Your Welfare Is Our Concern )

By: Office Of The Mayor- Bulan

( Here is a message from the Office Of the Mayor -Bulan for all readers of Bulan Observer, for all Tagabulans in Bulan and abroad and for all Bicolanos alike who care about and are interested in  the developments in Bulan. We are more than glad to be able to receive such a message for it completes our concept of democratic debate and brings us closer to our common goal of achieving a democratic, intelligent and progressive society of Bulan. I know that it is only by working together that we can achieve a brighter Bulan, a better future for these beautiful children above. The road to progress is not made shorter through this letter from the Office of the Mayor but it has widened it for all TagaBulans, irrespective of political ideas, to fit all together as we walk towards a modern and progressive Bulan. I know that democracy is the only way to a progress that suits the psychology of man for I have been living for decades in such a city where democracy is being practised in all levels of human interactions. The result? It’s again chosen last week as the best city in the world, in fact for several times already. Not that these people are more industrious and intelligent than we are but that they have recognized  long ago the necessity to work together and respect one another in order to survive. They did not only survive, they became the best. It is interesting to observe that foreigners in Zürich, no matter from which country they come from, with whatever religion, bring out their best right on their day one in Zürich and shortly thereafter contribute to the progress of Zürich. This is the wonderful effect of being respected, this is the positive effect of democracy. This is reality for me being in Zürich, but a big dream of mine for our beautiful hometown of Bulan.

Again, thank you for your letter. This letter will stand here in front for a few weeks to give chance to others to discover, read and reply. My Greetings To All Bulaneños!

For A Brighter Bulan! ———jun asuncion Bulan Observer  )


Office Of The Mayor- Bulan


June 16, 2008

Greetings to all who are reading this site!

We say peace and goodwill to all.

First, we would like to extend our congratulation to Jun Asuncion for creating this blog. Despite the fact that he is quite a distance from Bulan due to his residency in Europe, we believe his heart is still in his hometown bulan. Nobody can deny the fact that indeed there is no place like home. And we are proud in Bulan for people like Jun who are doing their best and they carry the name
of Bulan with them.

First, we would like to inform Jun and his readers that we have been visiting your site, and we have read the various comments and viewpoints especially those coming from our own townfolks. In a democratic society like ours, everybody is free to do so provided that they do not trounce upon the dignity of the person they so wish to comment on. All of us are human and we can feel the pain and hurt at the aspersions cast upon us. Public servants that we are though we take this seriously so that if change be for the better, so be it. However, we believe some of the comments are already personal attacks in nature, and from some other persons, too much with a partisan tone. That is quite understandable. But we think the readers should be analytical and reflective enough to distinguish what bias or prejudice or comments are to be believed or not. We think many of us naman are level-minded, just and fair in our reasoning, and can be counted upon when we come to decisions and conclusions. Especially us Bulanenos.

Second, we would like to disown that blogger who commented about our political leaders, the great late Mayor Adonis Asuncion, your grandfather , who had done so much for our town, especially at a time we needed most our leaders during the Japanese Occupation. He was a hero to us. And truly, nobody can compare what that great old man had done and with our present crop of leaders. Similarly, the Geronas, De Veras, the Galiases, the Granados, the Gotladeras and the De Castros had/have their own share in contributing, as leaders, to the growth and nurturing of Bulan as a Community. We all owe it to our ancestors and to each of us Bulanenos. Pero, in fairness also to that blogger who commented in our favor, dire mo man seguro tabi siya mababasol kay naimod niya an tunay nan tutoo na situasyon.

One blogger was right in commenting that hopefully, this site will not be a “hate site”, but instead a venue especially for Bulanenos to bring out their minds and their hearts. And hopefully again, not as a site where insults are hurled simply because of political partisanship. As you well know, we can be so engaged in political biases to the point that politicians who lose in elections can use this site to advance their sourgraping and so forth and so on. Not that it is bad, but sometimes people can be misled and be misguided. Just look at how much lies are being perpetrated through the internet in relation to the Bulan Integrated Terminal. Much is being published about this transport terminal but all of it are lies! And we cannot just take it sitting down. However, we have the courts to speak for us. And just look at what the Court decided.

Much has been published in the internet, again, about the Terminal, even about the amount with which it was loaned. Many are exaggerations, many are lies. Our political leaders, who were given the electoral mandate to run the affairs of the local government are honest, sincere, and sensible officials who know well their responsibilities to the people of Bulan. I know this kind of concern may generate and raise further issues. And we are very much ready to face those issues. However, we can guarantee our Bulan citizens both here and abroad that what ever we in the Local Government Unit conceptualize and actualize, we mean and do it for the sake of the general welfare. Question this if you may, but we stand by what we say.

We are peeved, but not pained, not even insulted, by one particular person in Bulan who had been a pain in the neck, if you may allow us, for the sake of expression, because he had, for so many years now been throwing mud at us, in the guise that he is doing so for a better Bulan, is baloney. Using the internet now as a venue. The truth is, for so many elections now, people in Bulan have never liked them. They were always election losers. In one election, they never won even in their own barangay and precinct. So this is their only way for them to get even, the radio, the internet, the print. What do you expect from them? Good or bad opinions about us? You decide tabi.

As a matter of course, we are publishing this also to air our side.

Since the assumption of the De Castros, much change has come to Bulan. To those who are abroad, come and visit us. Even Mr. Guyala is benefitting from everything good that Bulan has to offer. He has taken a convenient and confortable seat at the Bulan Terminal when he went to Manila. He has gone to Sabang Park many times during his leisure time. He enjoyed in so many programs sponsored by the Local Government Unit. During election campaigns, he rode through so many farm to market roads opened and maintained by the local government unit, all courtesy of an administration that has the people in its heart. And more importantly, we collect his thrash almost daily and religiously and have this thrash properly disposed in what is now the Bulan Eco PArk. We do not distinguish friend or foe in politics, we serve because it is our call, it is a mandate. Can’t our most vitriolic critics not look the other way around, at things more positive happening in our town? It is sad, if some Bulanenos, because of being partisan, speak as if Bulan is hell all because of an elected administration. That is not fair and just. And it is a lie. While we admit that we are not perfect, may we know who is? Then let them cast the first stone. Why not look the other way around also? at things positive happening in Bulan.

The basic idea of governance by this administration is anchored on service and general welfare. Maybe the Guyalas will have their own too if the time comes for the people to let them. But for now we beg of cooperation and solidarity. If indeed, things like questions on the legality and validity of the terminal or the abattoir or the municipal programs are there, let it be resolved in court. SINCE WE ARE A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. We are a society for free and dignified expression and not of demagoguery. Let our views be heard during election time, and may we also answer those comments here that vote buying in Bulan in election time is massive. INSULTO YUON SA ATO NA MGA TAGA-BULAN. The people decide who their leaders are. True , we deserve the government that we elect. But in Bulan, we believe we have done our part faithfully in accordance to the mandate given us, that we have served well.

Maybe, we shall rest here. And we again invite Jun and many more who are abroad, to come to Bulan, talk to our leaders, talk to our people , see what’s going on. We likewise give our highest salute to Jun’s family, the Asuncions, whose family contributed so much to Bulan, leaders, doctors, educators and plain good citizens who cherish this old, beautiful and faithful town.

From our side, we wish all Bulaneneos prosperity and goodwill. We know the times are harsh and difficult, but here your leaders are doing their best so that the ideals we have for all  be realized. During our campaign we called out, An Kaayadan niyo, Obligasyon mi. It is a battlecry that serves as beckon to us leaders. It is a sacred mandate, a sacred trust that we carry in our hearts and shoulders and hands. We shall make this work for our people in Bulan. And one with the global community, we work hand in hand so that human dignity be achieved, prosperity and peace be realized.


From “Maraoton Tabi An Komentaryo Mo” by senior citizen, 2008/06/16 at 8:23 AM
































15 thoughts on ““An Kaayadan niyo, Obligasyon mi”

  1. “… The truth is, for so many elections now, people in Bulan have never liked them. They were always election losers. In one election, they never won even in their own barangay and precinct…”

    Come on, the truth is, inbabakal tabi niyo ang sagrado na boto san mga taga bulan on the dawn of the election day… if you want to tell the truth, for the sake of those bulanons who are not presently living in bulan, please tell them the whole truth: half-truth is still a lie. And please, be transparent in all government transactions, kung wara man po kamo intatago, nano kay habo niyo ipaaram sa publiko?

    Just an observation from a gma pinoy tv program: emergency na in feature an hospital sa pawa — makararaw-ay an gobierno san bulan to the thought that bulan is a “first class municipality”.

  2. On June 20-22, the people of Bulan braced for the onslaught of a very strong typhoon named Frank. The Local Government Unit , under the leadership of Mayor Baby de Castro did its very best, through the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council, in preparing for what may probably be a disaster should it strike our community. Mayor personally oversaw everything from the meetings with the Barangay chairmen to the management of rescue groups and the organization of people who would man our locality in case the typhoon strikes.

    Fortunately for all of us in Bulan, we were spared of the fury of the typhoon. And as we now all know, over a thousand people lost their lives in some parts of the country,the worst being in Iloilo, and the tragedy that befell a sulpicio ship somewhere in Romblon.

    If memory serves me right, Mayor Baby De Castro has always been one of the best lady leaders in Sorsogon, if the issue comes about disaster management. And yet some people tend to forget this. In 2007, November 23-25, the MDCC organized by this woman was most effective in managing our community during Typhoon Mina; On February 21-22, at the height of one of the worst floods to hit Sorsogon, again the MDCC was at the forefront in saving people’s lives.

    You see, leadership is not about infrastructures or physical facilities but about how one brings his people closer together in unity and solidarity at the height of tempests and storms, even in times of discord. And the Mayor never discrimated on anybody just because of political affiliation. This is one trait and character of our lady leader that we are proud of.

    People in Bulan were right when they chose a leader, though a woman , who was compassionate and dedicated. And she deserves our respect for this.

    I know, some partisans may again scoff at this. We don’t care. You see, we were trying to look and find for these so talkative people, who were candidates once or twice during election time and we haven’t seen even their shadows. They were in the comfort of their beds, while some of our truly heroic ordinary citizen- volunteers were out there sacrificing themselves in the floods, in the storm, in the soup kitchen feeding our evacuees.

    We need not say more to tell who’s really patriotic and who’s only grandstanding .

    Mayor Baby, keep up the good work po!

    These message come from all of us who just listen silently but who know the truth about leadership in Bulan.

    And yes, before I forget, the People of Bulan, the whole community, through our Mayor was recognized and acknowledged by many Albayanos since Bulantown was one of the very first and one of the most efficient rescue and assistance group that extended help to the victims of the Mayon Landslides in September 27-28, 2006. In fact, it was one of the most poignant and most emotional moment but most golden moment for all of us in Bulan, that we all came together, from the elementary school pupil who donated his baon, to the tindero in the palengke who gave his bundles of gaway, to the bakers, the ordinary citizen, the farmers, who donated rice, the fishbrokers who gave banyeras of lawlaw, and the volunteers who served in the landslide area. It is heartwarming to note that we have a community with a heart of gold. All these because our lady mayor rallied all of us to one charitable and generous cause unseen before. And we are proud. Very,very honored.

  3. ( A comment from leslie redirected here by junasun )

    June 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm ·
    ang hospital san Bulan dapat na po ipasara…diri mayad ang facilidad…hope soon mag kaigwa kita san mayad na hospital…concern ako sa mga kapwa ko taga bulan…wara po ba plan si mayor po about po dito sa sayo na major probs san ato bungto..!??

  4. Just a short comment on this matter. (re, Office of the Mayor) I would say that one blogger named Burudikbudik was right when he said ” the truth is – inbabakal tabi niyo an sagrado na boto san mga tawo sa Bulan”.

    Only the deaf, mute and blind would claim that vote buying did not take place in Bulan or in some other places. That is the truth, and no one or nobody can deny that, as vote buying operation is already a matter of judicial notice in the country, or better still, a public knowledge already.

    We know for a fact that politicians/candidates during and every elections would conspire with their supporters to bribe the voters, and resort to vote-buying or vote selling operations, NO EXCEPTION. The winner in the elections as well as the loser are both guilty of vote-buying and other election offenses.

    In Bulan, in particular, the winner, like the de Castro, – is the highest bidder as much as P250.00 per voter as against P150.00 offered by their opponents (guyalas, gogolas, etc.).

    By and large, vote-buying or vote selling is rampant, massive and widespread, not only in Bulan, but all over the country during and every elections. Take for instance, up in the north, P1,000.00 – P1,500.00 per voter an barakalan san boto, and down to the south as far as in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, the bid price would be P1,500.00 – P2,000.00 per voter.

    And, now please tell me, who are/is not guilty of this election offense/s among our local politicians/candidates? And, if somebody would claim that he/she is clean, let he be to cast the first stone.

    Since vote buying and/or vote selling was massive and widespread in the last elections, my question will be, do you think our present local elected leaders, from Gov., Vice Gov., Cong., Bokal, Mayor, Vice Mayor & Councilors have Moral Authority to hold on to their positions sans delicadeza on their part? In Bulan, in particular, what do you think? Maybe or absolutely, the answer would be a big NO, as in, they have no moral authority talaga because they all won the elections thru vote-buying and conspiracy to bribe the electorates to vote for them in exchange for some monetary considerations. Do they have legal authority to govern or claim unto the positions? Yes, maybe, because, whether they won the elections thru vote-buying or otherwise, they are still the duly proclaimed winners by the duly constituted authority (COMELEC or Board of Canvassers, et al.). Take note that, what is legal is not necessarily moral.

    In short, all our local elected leaders now have no MORAL AUTHORITY to govern neither to continuously holding on to the positions, because they are all guilty of Vote Buying. Thus, I bet you guys, IPAPAUTOD KO AN GURAMOY KO, if my foregoing allegation is not true, or should I say, I swear to the law of nature,” MAY THE LIGHTING AND THUNDER STRIKE ME MORTALLY IF I AM NOT TELLING THE TRUTH, Deri mao tabi?

    The truth is that VOTE BUYING/Vote Selling in Bulan is massive, widespread and rampant. So, If you are courageous enough to deny the reality of the events, then you are the liar himself/herself, deri mao tabi?

    Contrary to your view in claiming that ” Let our views be heard during election time, and may we also answer those comments here that vote buying in Bulan in election time is massive. INSULTO YUON SA ATO NA MGA TAGA-BULAN”, then I would counter that the massive existense of vote buying during the elections in Bulan is not actually an insult to us, tagaBulan, it is rather an affront or insult to our local politicos who would use their golds, guns or goons to conspire with others to bribe voters in order to insure winning the election thereby capitalizing upon the weakness and poverty of our fellow kabungtos, na pag-abot san election an paghuna san mga tawo an politico an tunay na tagasalbar san pagtios san tawo. I abhor this kind of practice in Philippine politics perpetrated by opportunistic politicians, armed with golds and guns, who think that positions in the government is a property right which can be inherited by, or pass on to their next generation of politicians. As the saying goes, we are not born yesterday (maybe I was born, a while ago, hehehe) to deny the reality that vote buying is actually happening during and every election period.

    If an admission or acceptance of the truth is an insult , then I should be the first person to admit it, even if my person will be insulted, that vote buying is massive and widespread in Bulan. You, as electorate or supporter of the present administration, are the living witness or testimony how vote buying during the last electoral exercise has been undertaken left and right the day or night prior to the election proper, (both the administration candidates and oppositions) an sobre na may kwarta kaupod an sample ballot nagraralakaw kinagabihan bago an election, deri mao tabi?

    I was an observer of politics in Bulan many years back, and elsewhere in the country, kay nano makagana ka kun wara ka perak sa election didi sa Pilipinas? The Juan Frivaldo phenomenom is already a thing of the past, na maski wara kwarta, ganador permi. The only thing I agree with you, whether there was vote buying or vote selling during election, is the fact remains, “WE DESERVE THE GOVERNMENT THAT WE ELECT”, tama ka, magpararibok pa man kita, na mga bayad na kita san election. Deri mao tabi?

    Including President Gloria Arroyo is wanting, and bereft of moral authority to stay in Malacanang because she won the ELECTION thru Fraud, or deceit, (see: garci tapes scandal), kun may delicadeza ine si PGMA dapat ruminabas na kunta siya dun sa Malacanang. Kaso kapit toko! Kay si FG Mike, baga yun san bampira susupsupon ngon-a sun an dugo san pilipinas mao mahali sa Palasyo.

    Moreover, maybe, I stand to be corrected here, the Sabang Park was a project started by the Gotladeras, not by the de Castro, likewise, the farm to market roads in several Barangays had been started during the time of Cong. Gillego and Mayor Gotladera, as well as that of the fish port/pier 2, but I don’t know if there are some additional farm to market roads undertaken by the administration of de Castro, or infrastructure projects i.e, bulan integrated terminal, eco-park, improvement of freedom park, etc., but considering the fact that Guiming de Castro and his wife had been in power for more than a decade now, thus if they have accomplished something phenomenom or phenomena for the improvement of the town of Bulan, that should be credited to them, ika nga give credit to where credit is due, after all, we cannot expect the Guyalas or the Gogolas and other oppositions to perform what is not incumbent upon them to do.

    I hope the battlecry of this present administration, “AN KAAYADAN NIYO, OBLIGASYON MI”, would not end-up as a mere lip-service or just a mere political propaganda by the present leadership in Bulan in order to perpetrate themselves to power in the next elections and other succeeding elections. If this present administration is really serious in contemplating and/or looking after the welfare of its constituents, (Your Welfare is Our Concern – Battlecry), then try to improve the facilities and medical services of the Pantaleon Gotladera Hospital in Pawa, sans regard as to whether this hospital is a district/provincial hospital or not, the present leadership in Bulan is duty bound by her conscience, and oath of office, and without resort to technicalities or legalities of the issue, to give priority to our dying emergency patients who have been brought there in the hospital hopeless and dying, and many of them were already 6-ft. below the ground due to reason aforementioned. After all, tagaBulan man lang an makikinabang sine na hospital, deri man tabi mga taga Irosin, Matnog, Juban, Magallanes, Sta Magdalena, Bulusan, Casiguran, and other nearby towns, “an kaayadan niyo, obligasyon mi? haen man tabi yun? Deri man yun namamatian san mga pobre o kasagdarangayan na tawo.

    Otherwise, the same battlecry can be likened to the political battlecry of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile then, when he ran for Senator many years back, “PROBLEMA MO, SAGOT KO”, and after he was elected people from all walks of life, i.e, vendors, unemployed, criminals, victims of injustice, squatters, beggars, etc, were looking after him for financial assistance, but he could not be located in the halls of Congress or elsewhere in the world. The “problema mo, sagot ko” battlecry has died a natural death.

  5. Let it be known to all that our democratic discussion is open and free for all the people of Bulan and fellow Bikolanos and that we acknowledge that the main purpose of this debate is the advancement of Bulan, socially, politically, morally and, hopefully, in the long run economically where all tagaBulans would profit in the end. If we could discuss openly without resulting to any form of violence, then I would say that we have done a big step already towards political maturity. Only then are we ready to face the developments that await Bulan in the near future. We are aware that exciting things will be happening in Bulan a few years from now. A united Bulan, meaning a town with a common goal in mind but democratic enough as to allow divergent political views to co-exist, is the solution to our social and economic problems, hence the key to our success. This journey to a better Bulan is a painful one for all of us as we hurl mud at each other now because of things in the remote and recent past. But don’t be discouraged nor give up Bulan because of these pains arising from insults and accusations. This is the first time we are engage in a free dialogue where we can air our sides without ending up in courtrooms. We should rather view this event as a necessity to our progress. Civilized people can discuss frankly and work together afterwards (see Obama and Clinton ). I like the imagery in Berting’s report above “that we all came together, from the elementary school pupil who donated his baon, to the tindero in the palengke who gave his bundles of gaway, to the bakers, the ordinary citizen, the farmers, who donated rice, the fishbrokers who gave banyeras of lawlaw, and the volunteers who served in the landslide area. It is heartwarming to note that we have a community with a heart of gold.” This image should guide our idea of a town working together for progress. In times of disaster and in our fight for progress we are one people and each one should forget politics but go and help. “Forgetting politics” but instead think how you can help improve Bulan is a better option than “thinking politics” and forgetting to help improve Bulan.This is one aspect of our need for change. The other aspect is to correct ourselves and this is only possible thru an open attitude. Imagine if one of the servicemen repairing an airplane before its flight would not correct another serviceman’s mistake of forgetting to connect together an important wiring or to put and tighten back a screw. This would with certainty lead to a disaster. Indeed, as the Book Of love says, an open rebuke is better than a hidden love.That’s the other aspect we need for positive change, an aspect represented here by atty. benji, burudikbudik and leslie. In fact the other side of the moon, of Bulan Observer- including jun asuncion. It is of vital importance to side to arguments and political results that help us forward, to remind us when we forget the screw or to connect important wirings and not hesitate to call the forgettful or careless one by name whoever he or she is to help prevent a disaster. This is teamwork. This is what I mean by a democratic concept now being complete.

    More Power To You All!

    jun asuncion

  6. To be fair to all – as you can see in my previous comment, I criticized constructively both the administration people and that of the opposition personalities. Nothing personal about it!

    Truly, the spirit of democracy and/or freedom of expression is alive in the Bulan Observer blog, as everybody or everyone is entitled to participate in the debate or discussion affecting common problems and issues of the community, particularly the town of Bulan!

    Every citizen has the right to offer his views and suggestions in the discussion of the common problems of the community, or the nation. This is not only a RIGHT but a DUTY.

    With this, I absolutely agree with Mr. Jun Asuncion’s very democratic reaction and intelligent approach on the issues when he said, “Let it be known to all that our democratic discussion is open and free for all the people of Bulan and fellow Bikolanos and that we acknowledge that the main purpose of this debate is the advancement of Bulan, socially, politically, morally and, hopefully, in the long run economically where all tagaBulans would profit in the end. If we could discuss openly without resulting to any form of violence, then I would say that we have done a big step already towards political maturity”.

    In this connection, Mr. Jun A. has stated further, “This journey to a better Bulan is a painful one for all of us as we hurl mud at each other now because of things in the remote and recent past. But don’t be discouraged nor give up Bulan because of these pains arising from insults and accusations. This is the first time we are engage in a free dialogue where we can air our sides without ending up in courtrooms. We should rather view this event as a necessity to our progress. Civilized people can discuss frankly and work together afterwards (see Obama and Clinton)”.

    This is the essence of democracy and of liberty.

    Fair comment, and criticisms of official conduct is allowed as long as it is done in good faith and within the the bounds of reason, and existing order. After all, the interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand full discussion of public affairs.

    Complete liberty and freedom to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech and expression.

    I would like to stress that freedom of expression is available only in so far as it is exercised for discussion of matters affecting public interest. Purely private matters do not come within the guaranty. Invasion of privacy is not sanctioned by the Constitution. Only matters that touch the heart of existing order may be valid subject of this freedom.

    “Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and unjust accusation. That wound may be relieved by the balm of clear conscience. A PUBLIC OFFICIAL MUST NOT BE TOO THIN-SKINNED WITH REFERENCE TO COMMENT UPON HIS OFFICIAL ACTS (re, Bustos Case, 37 Phil. Reports 731)”

    Hence, the official acts, and even the private life, of a public servant are legitimate subjects of public comment. The people have the right to SCRUTINIZE, and COMMEND, or CONDEMN the conduct of their chosen representatives in the government. As long as their comments are made in good faith and with justifiable ends, they are insulated from criminal prosecution or damage suits for defamation even if such view are found to be inaccurate or erroneous.

    Lastly, Jun A. said that “this journey to a better Bulan is a painful one”. I may add likewise that “Bulan road to progress is still under repair”, and we are all the construction workers for progress and development, and let us set aside politics and political bickerings among our leaders, we can attain progress thru cooperation and unity.

    Mabuhay Kita Gabos. For a Brighter Bulan!

  7. To: jun asuncion

    Thanks for this blog! I learned about history of Bicol and read many things which made me laugh or smile and develop more my interest in visiting this beautiful place. I actually learned so many things about Bicol region when I was in Elementary School. Thanks for my teachers.This time I would like to learn about it personally.Thanks to your bloggers.

    I heard about the Bulan Observer but came to encounter with it only last week. Interesting ,very interesting! I am interested because I came to know the history of Bulan little by little. It is really full of mixed emotions. I had never been in Bulan- but what such a nice name of a town! I wish I can see this place in the future. Why am I interested? Because my husband is a Bicolano! I want to see not only the Mayon Volcano but the people in Bicol. I would like to enjoy their delicacies. Like Pansit Bato, What is that? Pinangat , is that fish? This original dried gabi leaves with coconut milk I tasted that for sure once in the early eighties. I am sorry, I’m just inquisitive and curious because I’m a hobby cook. Can anybody answer how to prepare these savouring specialties?

    Another topic is, I would like to share my sentiments to Mrs. Mayor Helen Rose de Castro.
    Sorry, for being a controversial lady because you are the First Lady in your town and all Eyes are
    focused on you. Corrupt! This word, nobody is exempted, open your eyes readers and see the world where we live and where we belong. Corruption is everywhere. Corruption for me is not only in terms of money but what the world offers. So, Mrs. Mayor, just do the right thing using your own discretion with wiseness and cleverness, knowledge and understanding. During this moments of your political career , nobody can help you , not even the closest person in your life. Turn yourself to the author and finisher of your faith and be honest to yourself and to your people.

    About advisers? Even Kings and Queens have their advisers but careful decisions must come from you.
    Go and make the best among the best in serving your people and if you had given your best the good Lord will do the rest.You cannot please everybody but serving your people in Bulan is your passion and if you like doing it, hear their battlecry, put it into your heart and let your eyes walk straight ahead. If you have a clear and clean heart, ignore the deceitful and perverse mouth. Go on and show them the meaning of a woman who is just like a mother cuddling a child into your own home Bulan.
    Give priority to what you do. Give an eye most especially to the malnourish and sick children because they are the future Bulan leaders. Health care for everyone. Because I myself I cannot stand just watching my kababayan starving and with out any TLC and BLS ( Tender Love and Care , and Basic Life Support .)

    Education to the poor. Intelligent and interested children. Where are they?

    God Bless you and may the people see the beauty of your heart.

  8. To attybenji
    You have written the truth nothing but the truth interms of vote buying.I know this is a traditional primitive way of election in the Philippines.This is an honest answer.This is not perverse.

    Now I would like to challenge the Lady Mayor to do her best to show the cost and the price to her position. So thanks to this Blog giving her the chance to speak out and work harder than ever for her people and her main interest in making a brighter Bulan.

  9. to: milagros
    Kindly type or search “PINANGAT PRODUCERS IN CAMALIG” in your Yahoo, Google or whatever website provider you are using. Camalig, is a small town in the Province of Albay, a famous producer/dealer of PINANGAT, a savoring bicol delicacy. PINANGAT is a famous exotic vegetable (gabi leaves only) dish cooked in coconut milk mixed with select spices such as garlic, ginger, lemon grass and pepper (chili). It comes in several variants depending on the additional ingredients mixed. PINANGAT comes in HOT and SPICY and CLASSIC variants, etc.

    For sure, all information or queries regarding, ‘pinangat’ making and its ingredients are available thereat.

    Mabuhay ka!

  10. (Comment from True Faith posted here by junasun)

    True Faith

    Diri kaipuhan san bulan an airport. Imuda daw tabi niyo sin mayad mga leaders an pinakakaipuhan san mga taga bulan tabi! Wara ngani tultol na hospital, daog pa san irosin. Daghanon an nagtitios. Sa gilid lang san baybayon makaluluoy an mga kamutangan san mga tawo. Daghanon an drug pusher, addict, mga dusta na kabaklaan, grabe an sarambayan, diri na daanis an mga eskwelahan… daghanon pa na dapat iprioritize. An daghanon na mga para sikad-sikad, makaluluoy pagparaimudon! Pirmi may nababadil na pulis! Anuhon yuon na airport? baga man yuon an terminal na pakaisi mo “central terminal” pero an mga jeep mao san mga van di man didto nagpaparada! Kaya daghan an mga bulanon na habo na mag-iristar didto kay bagang makaluluya pagparaimudon an palibot!

  11. Good morning to all of you.

    I have been scanning the messages in your blog. I am with the office of the mayor in Bulan. I find the comments very interesting, proof of the awareness that many of our people in Bulan has. I am particularly glad about benjie, who was my former student in QA. It’s good to hear that he is now a lawyer. It fulfills a lot somewhere inside your being to find out your students are doing well. Although I was a little aghast at the way he reported my accident for the whole worldto read, haha! Benjie, you missed a lot of info about how I figured in that accident. It was not my fault. I was a very defensive driver, besides I am one of those in the mayor’s office conducting a public safety seminar for our local motorists, as part of her program on public safety and discipline.

    Anyway, let me set the record straight. As far as we are concerned, we welcome the comments, even the vitriolic ones with open mind. This is a free country. Of course, we disagree with some. For Mayor Baby, that is the price she has to pay for involving herself in politics. It all depends on where you stand.

    Kudos to you Jun for coming up with this blog. It’s for us some kind of public service. Mayor reads the mails you know. And she’s very open-minded. And we have read many suggestions already, and she has been doing her best to respond by way of action, which we don’t have to constantly publicize, though it is necessary sometimes. Anyway, she has her semestral report to the people of Bulan.

    As to the Bulan Terminal case, it is with the courts , RTC 65 to be particular. Benjie knows that our courts are wise enough to judge on the issue.If not then we go to the Supreme Court. We leave it that way. Sobriety and reason is extremely important in a civilized society. Even Nonong Guyala knows that, I bet.

    As to vote-buying, assuming without admitting, that indeed vote-buying is taking place during elections, let me say it is an overstatement. Again, as one blogger put it, it is an insult to generalize Bulanenos as such or people from other communities. Do you reallly believe everybody is doing it? I for one, have been in the Sangguniang Bayan for three consecutive terms, the last two having been the topnotcher, but I have never, never engaged in bribing people to vote for me. I spent yes, for my operational expenses to make my campaign run but not the so-called last hour special operations. In fairness to so many righteous people, let’s not generalize. If we think there is no more hope in our political system, then what the heck are we here for? It would be chaos. Oh, this is avery contentious issue, we can debate and argue, this blog will not suffice. Sorry po.

    All we then expect is that leaders may be conscientious enough of the call to public service, even if the means by which they have been elected to office is not so moral. Can that be possible? I think yes.

    Mayor Baby ha been doing her best to be a public servant. Personally, I can attest to that. Sorry if somebody says they don’t. Again, this is a free country for us to express.

    The De Castro Adminsitration has been in office for over four terms now. They’ve been there on account of an electoral mandate by Bulanenos. Whatever the opposition says, its okey to us. Try your best to win the people’s hearts so you can also be of help to our community. That’s how democracy works. To win an election, many factors are involved, especially in a Philippine setting. Pakikisama, personality, popularity, performance, machinery and political organization, money, guts, suwerte, ward leaders and so forth and so on. I have been through it. Of course you can also hurl mud at somebody else (which is not good), or you can convict somebody else in the tribuna or over the radio (which is also obsolete na).

    Mayor Guiming and Baby has come from a long line of public servants starting with the Geronas. Just like the Asuncions, who are noted public servants. Hard to accept though it may be, it has been part of our history that the moneyed class rules, or is it govern? In the past, the influential leaders of our town all came from the aristocracy. But mind you Benjie, we can change this, even I, think, we can. But over and above these considerations of influence by the aristocratic group, there were leaders who stood out, like Don Rufino Gerona, Mayor Asuncion during the Jap Occupation, Mayor Nena Gotladera, and now Guiming and Baby. Let us give them their time and space to be of service. Then, if election time comes, and people don’t need them, then let the people decide. Issues aside, Guiming and Baby are two of the most friendly people in Bulan, not just because they are leaders pero trademark na nira ini ever since. This is what made them beloved in Bulan. They consider themselves as part of the collective, if i may use the trait of Nelson Mandela. Sori po Sir Mandela. Pero there are people like you too, and there are so many people in the world like Mandela.

    I think it is fair to say, that the De Castros are not the baddest and the meanest people in Bulan as what some are portraying them. You see a lot of people going to church very religiously on Sundays, sometimes they are in the front pew, but mind you when they speak, fire and brimstones are spewing all over once they open their mouth hehe.

    I think prudence is necessary in judging people, or do we really have the right to do so?

    Anyway po, good luck Jun A, and also to my former student Benjie. I think now that I found the site of Jun, I may be its regular customer, so to speak. Of course, expect me po to defend my Boss Mayor Baby De Castro. It is to be expected, is it not tabi Jun?

    Mabuhay po kita entero. Salamat TONYBOY

  12. to : tonyboy

    Greetings! i am one of the Bulanons who no longer resides in Bulan but my heart is yearning and craving to see our town and our people be one of those progressive places that i’ve been. i’m glad that you finally joined the growing numbers of observers and will represent the office of the mayor and the whole LGU of Bulan i would assume. personally, i am a non partisan observer here in this site since i have not seen how the past and current administrations functioned and fulfilled their obligations, therefore i am not in a position to judge, neither i don’t know personally opposition personalities particularly nonong guyala except that i’ve known him as one of my childhood playmates. i’ve lived 2/3rd of my life outside Bulan and only 1/3rd of it during my childhood and early teen years – the happiest moments of my life, were spent in Bulan. i do sometime visit but very seldom, less than ten times for the last 36 years and often very short visits. so, my views, opinions and observation were largely based on whatever news and articles that i can find in the internet, radio/tv and or newspapers. i’ve read articles and updates regarding the situation and condition of our town from the other “side” and today based from what i’ve read that is my perception of the state of our town. perhaps, this is the best opportunity for you to provide and present the other side or maybe disown commentaries or articles written against the administration and provide us alternatives/options so there will be a balanced information.
    significantly, a number of write ups and comments were published recently by “several” persons ranging from senior citizen, berting, milagros, true faith and finally yourself defensively shielding the current administration from previous criticisms written by some of the bloggers. curiously, i find these write ups to be coming from one source and most probably from one and the same computer since all bears the same IP address. i brought this up for the reason that there are some contradictions amongst yourselves on the arguments particularly from “true faith”, to quote her/him “Diri kaipuhan san bulan an airport. Imuda daw tabi niyo sin mayad mga leaders an pinakakaipuhan san mga taga bulan tabi! Wara ngani tultol na hospital, daog pa san irosin. Daghanon an nagtitios. Sa gilid lang san baybayon makaluluoy an mga kamutangan san mga tawo. Daghanon an drug pusher, addict, mga dusta na kabaklaan, grabe an sarambayan, diri na daanis an mga eskwelahan… daghanon pa na dapat iprioritize. An daghanon na mga para sikad-sikad, makaluluoy pagparaimudon! Pirmi may nababadil na pulis! Anuhon yuon na airport? baga man yuon an terminal na pakaisi mo “central terminal” pero an mga jeep mao san mga van di man didto nagpaparada! Kaya daghan an mga bulanon na habo na mag-iristar didto kay bagang makaluluya pagparaimudon an palibot! “ this directly disagree with your position that the current and past administrations are doing their best to serve the people for the last four consecutive terms.

    i am most interested to know how a local government unit is being managed, i perform management function for a multinational company, an American company in particular. i am perplexed and baffled how and why after for so many years in the office there were so many fundamental and essential challenges and problems that still exists. there are several questions whirling in my mind, and some of these are :
    capability – how capable are the persons in charge, do they have the basic management skills? were they trained before they assume the job? do they practice management by objectives? how do they set goals and expectations? how do they set short, medium and long term plans and how do they implement them? do they conduct performance against goal review and how agile and capable they are in hurdling obstacles? do they conduct weekly or monthly operations meetings? etc….
    • controls and accountability – are proper accounting principles in place and duly practiced? who reports to who? do they conduct audits? is there a proper check and balance in place? do they conduct risk assessment and management practices? etc…
    • budget management and expense forecasting – how do they come up with budget and expenditure forecasting? how do they implement budget prioritizations? do they define and implement cost savings measures? do they practice zero based budgeting? etc…
    • project management – how do they identify projects? is there a feasibility study conducted by competent person(s)? is there a buy off process by a higher management body or in the case of LGU the constituents? how do they plan and implement project management? how do they manage and streamline on going projects? do specs and timelines were defined and met? do they have penalty clause in the contract? etc…

    it is my dream and would like to see Bulan someday as one of the most progressive community in that part of the country! i earnestly believe that we are capable of accomplishing this dream. with the help of each and every one of us we can do it. i am also an alumni of Quezon Academy from a different time zone and am so happy that our alma mater has produced respectable and very capable graduates.

    God Bless us all….

  13. ( I have redirected here this answer of mine to the letter of The Office Of The Mayor-Bulan for, first, it seems that this is the right corner for it and, second, so that all may know in brief the main objective of Bulan Observer- that of being a meeting place for constructive (uniting) dialogue and exchange of views among us tagaBulans, as stated at the end of my letter.
    Now, we have received a new voice coming from our local government in the person of Tonyboy, and for sure he is very much welcome as one among us to talk about many aspects about our local government ( like answers to questions posed by rudy bellen ) everytime he visits us, indeed, not as a customer nor as a teacher to atty. benji but as inter pares, among equals. I also invite the people from our government to treat Bulan Observer as a public tool they can use to publish things of public interest. The government should take the lead in disseminating quality information. We must not be stingy when it comes to information; the more information, the better is public trust. The public loves to be informed. A lot of problems of today would have been avoided had the leadership recognized before that sustainable politics is all about open communication. Anyway, we are not meeting here to talk about things we cannot change anymore but to talk about the ways of how we can improve ourselves or prevent disasters, for we are the town. However, open communication is a challenge in itself for all, if we mean by it straight-forward, frank to sometimes brutally frank way of bringing our message to anybody. For sweet-talking will not help us sharpen our democratic perception and does not help us learn how to tell or face the truth. jun asuncion)

    To Office of the Mayor-Bulan,

    My heartfelt thanks to the author of this letter, especially that of disowning or of distancing from that certain senior citizen regarding his improper utterance about the late Adonis Asuncion, not that we disown senior citizen his rights to free expression, etc., but just to remind him that respect has also an important place in a democracy especially when it comes to the memories of our leaders who served the town selflessly and who have directly nothing more to do with the present political issues now facing Bulan and who no longer dwell with us and no longer living to defend themselves. Peace and justice to them.
    Everybody in our town is an observer, a Bulan observer. If you just look into the faces of these children above, you know already what I mean by this. Everything that we do or do not do now are registered in the memory discs of these children and affect their perception and in turn the quality of their future. If parents and town leaders would only think of their own selves now, these children will never have a good life and a bright future, in turn Bulan will not shine bright. Who among us inwardly connected to our town in one way or another desire such a life for them and such a dark Bulan? I guess nobody. For sure, our past parents and town leaders also had concerned themselves with the future of their children and of their town. But look where we are now in Bulan: divided because of little things actually, but big in their effect in a community of man where rights are sacred. And imagine a big loss of time, money, energy and productivity in courtroom warfares just because of a little section in our Bill Of Rights being knowingly or unknowingly neglected.
    Such things naturally happen but an intelligent society learns from its mistakes ( but a wise one from other’s). Can we not make Bulan an intelligent society, or better a wise one? Keep this question with you as you go on with your daily political affairs in Bulan. Little things matter a lot. And always be guided by higher principles for they count in the end. A swift scanning into the pages of world history will testify to this truth.
    Indeed, with one reading of this letter from the Office Of the Mayor-Bulan, one can already point out things that will keep us debating for a lifetime. But who likes to debate the whole life, who likes to spend his life just criticizing somebody? In the end, it’s all a waste of time and personal resources if we would just concentrate on things that divide us ( and they’re plenty!). Successful societies of today- and in the past- concentrated on their commonalities early in their history. This is the only way to success.
    And look at this: people from such successful societies just smile and shake their heads the moment they see how we quarrel each other about such issues now facing Bulan. Do you ever wonder what they are thinking when they shake their heads, smile and leave?
    So it’s about time that we focus ourselves to the tasks that need to be done in Bulan. Our poor, jobless, homeless, hungry and sick town brothers and sisters outside cannot wait any longer while we quarrel in courtrooms.
    But first correct the mistakes done before now and avoid the same mistakes in the future. This is the guarantee to efficient municipal leadership, the best tranquilizer for the critics.
    One word to the opposition: Opposition is indispensable in any democratic government. But the key to social progress is constructive opposition. Obstructive opposition is its opposite for its motives are purely personal, commonly motive of revenge. In this way, this kind of opposition runs counter to the interest of the town, to the Common Good, and therefore does not deserve the popular support of the people.
    Bulan Observer and its fast growing readership are interested only in things that put us forward as a town and give credit to whom it is due- the government or the opposition, or to any plain citizen of Bulan.
    Looking forward to a constructive dialogue among us Bulaneños! Bulan deserves a brighter future!

    jun asuncion

  14. to: sir Tony Boy

    It’s nice to hear that sir tony boy, who is acting as the spokesperson of the Office of the Mayor-Bulan, has joined and/or participated in the debate and discussion in this blog.

    Here, let me say that sir tony boy is one of the gifted teachers during my secondary years at the RGCC (formerly QA). He is one of my few teachers whom I could describe or refer to, as the best mentor during our time, (like that of the caliber of my other teachers, the late sir Greg Abada, former Vice Mayor and ma’am Esme de Castro also). I was indeed privileged to have sir tony boy as one of my mentors, and I have learned a lot from him. (Nagpurbar kunta pag-entres ine sadto san kaklase ko na si Buenaliza Besid, pero baga san deri nadagos kay nagselos an katrato ni liza, he-he-he.)

    I have never met sir tony boy for quiet sometime now. He is a good guy with a sense of patriotism/nationalism in his heart. I would recall during our secondary year (4th yr.), he used to castigate, scold or reprimand the group of 4th year students, all of whom were boys, who made fun of, and/or fool around in singing the national anthem during the flag-raising ceremony, after the said ceremony, he told the boys to remain standing amidst the heat of the sun to sing the same by heart and with feelings, then he uttered a short homily, “Mga 4th year na kamo, kamo pa an nagpapadara san katarantaduhan san pagkanta san national anthem. Deri niyo dapat inyuyuga-yuga an pagkanta san national anthem, kay ine na badera san Pilipinas dugo nan buhay an sinakripisyo sine san saato mga ninuno o mga kaninununuan para lang ipaglaban an kalayaan san Pilipinas sa pananakop san mga dayuhan”.

    I would admit that I was not one of whom that he reprimanded, because in the first place, I was not part of the group who made fun of the same, and I’m not a culprit either. Nonetheless, when the punishment was imposed upon the guilty students and to sing it by heart, “nakikanta nalang ako sa grupo para may karamay sila, ika nga the act of one is the act of all, as if conspiracy exists, hehehe, that was a humbling experience on my part.

    After the incident, I said to my self, that guy (tony boy) is a living patriot, and has a sense of national pride. I salute you sir!

    On one hand, maybe sir tony boy was referring to my comment posted in the sorsogonnews blog of Nonong Guyala, perhaps I got a wrong information regarding his involvement in the motorcycle accident somewhere in Irosin. (if he felt aghast, my apology sir) – I was then in Zone 1-Ilawod, when one of my friends said, “Benji, deri teacher mo tabi si kagawad tony boy gilana san high school. I said yes, kay nanu? Naaksidente baga sa motor sa may Salvacion, Irosin, kay paspas an parabas san motor an kurbada pababa, bweniluhan niya sin toda pwersa, kay an paghuna niya deritsu an tinampo kaya namaringkawal baga sa gutter, pero deri man serious an tama.

    Sabi ko, aw mao? Kairo man ha, sabi ko awaton na napanahon deri ko na yun nabagagat si sir tony boy. And fortunately, by coincidence, during the grand alumni party in Bulan Freedom Park, I met his sister, Salve, my high school classmate and friend, whom I haven’t met for quiet sometime after we graduated in high school way back in 1986, and then she confirmed that, in fact, tony boy had met an accident in Irosin, but according to her, his brother is okey na nagpapaayad-ayad nalang san rangus sa pandok nan samad.

    Immediately, a day after, I even went to his house in Fabrica to visit him, but I was not fortunate to see him there, neither locate his whereabouts because he was in the town proper kay nakifiesta daw sabi san relative niya na nakaistorya ko.

    -If the information I got from a friend was erroneous and incomplete regarding his involvement in the motorcycle incident. For that, the fault is entirely mine. I apologize to you sir tony boy.

    But nonetheless, when I made a comment in the sorsogonnews blog concerning the incident, I did not intend to antagonize, annoy nor offend his feeling, neither to make fun of him. I have a high respect for this guy, being my mentor during our high school days.

    Though, we may differ in our political beliefs, viewpoint and opinion, he is entitled to his own belief, idea, principle and conviction, I, too, is entitled to my own belief and conviction. On the other hand, we are one in our convictions, aspirations and dreams to see Bulan as one of the progressive/prosperous and developed towns in Bicol in the year or years to come.

    Again, we said that, every citizen has the right to offer his views and suggestions in the discussion of the common problems of the community, or the nation. This is not only a right but a duty. This applies to all bloggers and writers in this blog.

    Eminent former Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz aptly said “The ideas that may be expressed under this freedom are not confined only to hose that are sympathetic or acceptable to the majority. That would make the freedom more shadow than substance. To be really meaningful, it should permit the articulation of even the unorthodox view through it is hostile to or derided by others, or induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger”.

    The essence of freedom and liberty is that everybody is entitled to say what is in his/her mind. As freedom of speech includes freedom after the speech. Without this assurance, the citizen would hesitate to speak for fear he might be provoking the vengeance of the officials he has criticized.

    In a free society, the individual is not supposed to speak in timorous whispers or with bated breath but with the clear voice of the unafraid. Nevertheless, freedom of expression is not absolute.

    On the lighter side of the issue: Would you believe guys that “the freedom to speak includes the right to remain silent?” Agree or not Agree? – As the “Bill of Rights which guarantees to the individual the liberty to utter what is in his mind also guarantees to him the liberty not to utter what is not in his mind, x-x-x-x. The right, however, is not demandable against those unwilling to listen, who may not be herded by the state into a captive audience. This means, in fine that the right to listen also includes the right not to listen”. As Socrates said, “this freedom was meant not only to protect the minority who want to talk but also to benefit the majority who refuse to listen”. (see: Barnette Case, 219 US 624).

    PS: To partly quote rudyb’s comment on this issue, he categorically stated, “Significantly, a number of write ups and comments were published recently by “several” persons ranging from senior citizen, berting, milagros, true faith and finally yourself (referring to tony boy) defensively shielding the current administration from previous criticisms written by some of the bloggers. Curiously, i find these write ups to be coming from one source and most probably from one and the same computer since all bears the same IP address”.

    For me, I agree with the keen observation of rudyb that probably the authors of the write-ups to be coming from one source only (Aminin!), using various pseudo names or aliases – they are one and the same person/s so to speak.

    Best regards & mabuhay ka sir tony boy and I’m looking forward to see you in the near future. – For a better Bulan!

  15. (Actually the right place for this article. I removed all the links and added this article I discovered entitled ” PHILIPPINES: Election violence and corruption expose the rotten state of the justice system” – A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission. I hope this informs us well about the political and justice situation in our nation. This is also to support my statement that , to quote myself, “The Philippines is not a safe place for people in the government, guilty or not, to declare that they did not resort to vote-buying “. It is my only hope that- though our country with regards to political and justice matters is in such a shameful situation- Bulan would be an exemption and would shine as a model town. My hope, and hopefully yours as well. For A Brighter Bulan! )

    To: Tonyboy and Team

    Thank you for the kudos and for reading things about Bulan. And I’m glad to know that our mayor is open-minded and that she reads things that concern Bulan and her constituents. It’s always an advantage for her to listen so she knows what is in the hearts of her “manga padaba”- ( am I one of those? ). Padaba or not, Bulan Observer is created for all of us Bulanians to share our views and concerns for our town. It is relatively young but has already attracted many people who are watching our town. No matter how it came into being, the main purpose of Bulan Observer is to connect us Bulanians and not just to entertain ourselves but to reflect seriously about matters that concern the present and future form of Bulan. It’s for the people of Bulan and I just function as the administrator to see to it that things do not run wild.

    This Bulan Terminal case is the point of departure between the good or bad political De Castro and of a concerned or just a personally-motivated critic Guyala. This is the thorn that pains everybody in Bulan- as long as it is not cleared. I’ve read and heard all interviews with Mr. Guyala and Mayor De Castro pertaining to this case as well as comments from people of Bulan. It is imperative to have a balanced view of the matter, and since it’s now in the court, we just wait and see. There is nothing else to talk about it at the moment but rather focus on the business of running our town efficiently and of solving the basic problems facing our people.

    Tonyboy, I suggest you better admitt that vote-buying is a practice in the Philippines and then assume that the people may assume without admitting that they forgive and forget as long as the “elected” is ” trying his/her best to be a public servant even if the means by which he/she has been elected (?) to office are not so moral “. You assumed yourself, ” Yes, that can be possible.” I believe you because you are experienced in this area . But even then, we might rightly say that though this is possible it is still not a thing we can be proud of. It is considered though a strength of us Filipinos that if we cannot solve the problem, we just accept and live with it. We know, however, that this same strength is also what hinders us to move forward. The Philippines is not a safe place for people in the government, guilty or not, to declare that they did not resort to vote-buying. The best way is either you just don’t talk about it anymore, try and prove your best once in office or get out of politics. Indeed it is possible to forgive them for the not-so-moral means (vote-buying, extortions, etc.) of getting to their public office- for everybody knows it anyway and things like that are “normal” in our nation. Unlike Japan for instance, we do not have a legislation that’s designed to punish vote-buying political candidate. It’s practiced by our national politicians so the local ones are forced to follow. Moral or not, the main problem is that once they’re in office, it’s their turn then to get back the money they paid to the people before or during election day. It could be that not all are doing this but still here we are again back to the vicious cycle of poverty and impoverished political system. That’s the logic of greed: It gives in order to get back more than it has given. The result is a sick nation, a dead town.

    All the time we have always been mentioning the word opposition. Opposition is such a noble denotation, coming from the latin word “opponere”, which means to counter or to resist. In politics the opposition has the duty to criticise and above all offer alternatives to that which the government has opted to undertake. But strictly speaking, there is no opposition in Bulan for they are not represented in the administration. The Guyalas are political foes and though they oppose by watching and criticizing every move of the De Castros, they are, strictly speaking no opposition party, for they have no people (seat) to represent them legally in the government of the De Castros. But as critical and responsible political foes however, they ought to separate definitions and start to work with the government when it comes to things that the whole town will benefit. Otherwise, a political foe or so called critic that only criticises, only at the lookout for mistakes but refuses to work wit the government in situations where everyone’s help is being called for or to offer help for people’s sake is standing partly apart from the people.

    We acknowledge that the De Castros are a strong political family in Bulan. I myself spent my elementary years under a De Castro ( Luis? ) mayor. But I think he was shot in his office one afternoon by another mayor from another town. A young boy that I was, I was enraged to hear about the incident that somebody killed our mayor just that! I don’t remember the details anymore. But the name De Castro has always been a big name to me so as Ginete, Gonzales…

    And there is no doubt that after over a decade of governing Bulan, the De Castros have also done good things to our town and to the people, or also have thought good thoughts for the people of Bulan. For other things done not palpable, maybe they have informed the people about such things very little. Nowadays, informations travel almost at the speed of light. A good or bad thing done is known in all corners of the world. So we expect that the De Castro government should be as communicative and open as possible. This will do them good. When the doors are open we will come in to help spread any good news. Our town people are willing to help when it’s for their own welfare- and also to oppose when it’s for their own welfare. But the government has no other option but to be concerned about the welfare of the people, never to oppose the people.

    It is fair to admit that nobody from this site ever declared that the people De Castros are the meanest people. It is not right to attack people personally, but is legitimate to criticise the political De Castros. These are two distinct attributes. We never hate anybody personally, in fact we love and respect all of our townmates as people.

    Yes, prudence is needed in judging, and for christians like us to judge is allowed. Though the popular verse “Judge not, that ye be not judged ” Matthew 7:1, seems to be contradicting my statement. But seen in the whole context, i.e. Matthew 7: 1-5, judging is allowed after you have first judged yourself. Take note that the word “judge” is mentioned about 700 times in the Bible, one book alone is titled “Judges”, written when God had chosen judges to lead ( like mayors of to-day) HIS people. And consider this verse: ”Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:14-15) . Therefore, it is in fact a sin not to make use of our sense of judgement of good and evil, of right and wrong ( see moral revolution). So the biblical justification.

    Now, from our common sense. Imagine Tonyboy if during election time, nobody has the right to judge a presidential or mayorial candidate! To quote you, “what the heck are we here for ? It would be chaos”. Chaos has been with us for a long time already. The political mess in our country is actually partly the result of our many people’s loss of capacity to judge because of the long vote-buying tradition in our country, a fact you can really just admitt and can really just assume the people had already internalized and ”legalized ” it. To generalize is wrong, but against this widespread, culturally-embedded vote-buying and selling practice in our country, it’s like blowing in the wind for a minority of some righteous politicians to declare innocence. Nobody would just believe them anymore. I do not deny that there are such politicians but mostly they do not get the office. But again, not all who don’t get the office were righteous during the campaign. The sense of political judgment has been taken away from the Filipinos long ago. Generally, this leads us back again to the problem of moral corruption which is, to quote you again, ” a very contentious issue, we can debate and argue, this blog will not suffice. Sorry po.” For me the facts about vote-buying, graft and corruption speak for themselves. There is nothing contentious about this issue. Bulan Observer’s storing capacity limit is more than enough if we don’t argue about things already obvious, but you are right, maybe this would not suffice if we keep on arguing they do not exist.

    You seem to be anticipating attacks when you say “expect me to defend my Boss Mayor De Castro.” No one in Bulan who has done nothing unconstitutional/illegal should worry about defending him/herself against criticism. You are duty bound to protect your employer, as we are also duty bound to defend our mayor should she met with unjust criticism. My only freedom is than I can even speak in defense of other things that are in you which concerns Bulan about which you have probably no more this freedom to speak due to your position.

    In any case, let’s move forward.

    jun asuncion

    Bulan Observer

    May 16, 2007 A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

    PHILIPPINES: Election violence and corruption expose the rotten state of the justice system

    With the conclusion of the legislative and local elections in the Philippines on May 14, the extent of deaths, violence and corrupt practices that have occurred during this electoral exercise is extremely appalling. This violent exhibition of democracy has cast serious questions upon the capability of the government, in particular the Philippine National Police (PNP), to execute their duties and responsibilities to protect the lives of the people, enforce laws and uphold order. As of May 15, the PNP reported 126 deaths from election-related violence since the beginning of the campaign several months ago. Each of these cases demonstrates the ugly reality of the state of law enforcement in the country.

    For armed men to conduct grenade attacks at polling precincts and schools, kill candidates and their supporters, murder teachers serving the voting process, carry firearms despite a gun ban, among other irregularities, demonstrates how the law enforcement authorities have lost control of maintaining law and order. Violence in some areas was so intense that the election was declared a failure. What has gone so wrong in the Philippines that even the simple political exercise of holding an election is almost impossible to do peacefully? These armed men, however, were able to violently disrupt the election and sow fear among the electorate, yet they were able to do it so easily and with impunity.

    When the police force is no longer able to execute their law enforcement duties, in particular to provide protection and uphold order, an enormous number of deaths and violence become inevitable. These armed elements knew fully well that they would not be prosecuted and held accountable for their acts. The police, in fact, appeared to be totally helpless.

    The admission of difficulty by a senior police colonel to maintain law and order in Abra Province in the northern Philippines deserves an in-depth reflection of the extent of violence that can be unleashed when the policing system no longer functions; for in this province, the cycle of violence and deadly electoral rivalry subconsciously became part of life. In this environment though, the police were powerless to enforce the law, including a gun ban, and stem the electoral-related violence.

    It is not only the culture of violence that is at fault but also the toleration of such extensive violence that goes unchallenged that contributes as well. Moreover, the failure of the country’s legal system has worsened the situation. The lack of law enforcement has become so pervasive that ordinary people attack perpetrators as a form of instant justice, thus furthering lawlessness in the country. In such a climate, there is no amount of changing society’s morals or values, as the police claim, that can stop the violence that the people are forced to accept as a way of life.

    What is also shocking is the level of acceptance by the people, whether candidates or the electorate, of corrupt practices during elections. Vote-buying and other forms of corruption during elections is public knowledge and a widely known phenomenon in which candidates are expected to give and voters are expected to receive money. The level of silence and tolerance of this corrupt practice though is shocking. The candidates even bribe voters in public. Some citizens consider it a good gesture rather than an act of bribery and that these candidates are worthy of their votes. There is a mentality that has developed in which voters question why they cannot cast their ballot for candidates who distribute money when they even vote for those who do not give them money at all.

    The level of corrupt practices has even reached a point where politicians accused of vote-buying have felt that they too may be victims; the way in which elections are conducted shocks them as well. There is no end to the creative forms of electoral corruption: reports of missing election materials and ballot boxes, election documents found inside a political rival’s quarters, a massive increase of a questionable number of registered voters, disfranchisement of voters, names of deceased persons allowed to vote and so on. Although these practices are common during election day, people often do not consider their gravity and implication for the long-term governance of the Philippines. If this is how Filipinos elect new senators, members of Congress and local leaders, what kind of leadership and good governance can be expected from them in the future?

    What is also appalling is the government’s denial and apparent lack of will to acknowledge and accept that there is something systemically wrong with the electoral process. This apathy to the failure of the country’s electoral system is especially evident in the response of the PNP to the recent election; for despite 126 recorded deaths, the violence that has taken place, the declaration of the failure of the elections in several areas, among others, it has described the May 14 elections as “generally peaceful” compared to previous elections. This reaction, however, is merely a superficial comparison with previous elections. Why is any violence tolerated, especially by the PNP? Why are the systemic defects of elections not condemned and resolved? Regardless of the number of cases and incidents reported, the fact that violence and corruption continues unabated during elections cannot be justified and, in effect, condoned. The PNP must acknowledge the deteriorating state of its police work and seek to improve it instead of concluding that the conduct of the May 14 election is better than earlier electoral exercises.

    The absence of enforcement of the law during elections is merely a reflection of the state of the justice system in general, however. It is the lack of legal remedies within the existing criminal justice system in which perpetrators are supposed to be held accountable that worsens the condition of the state of lawlessness and injustice. For instance, a lawyer who practiced law in Jolo on the island of Sulu for many years described how his clients have suffered injustice as the result of judicial delays. For more than 40 years of his legal career, “not even one of the cases [he has] handled prospered,” he lamented. This sorry state of this conflict-ridden island’s judiciary has forced the people to resort to extrajudicial practices. It is also on this island where violence, even during ordinary days, has virtually become part of everyday life.

    When the existing system of law enforcement and justice no longer function properly, the worst forms of violence, corrupt practices and state of lawlessness become inevitable. They have become a way of life where the people are subconsciously forced to accept them. What can be observed in the recently concluded May 14 election is the ugly reality of the country’s deteriorating law and order conditions as a result of the systemic denial of legal redress for victims of violence. Without addressing these defects in the country’s legal system, meaningful elections in the Philippines are just a dream.

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