The Many Voices Of Bulan Democracy: The Highlights

Compiled here are some of the excerpts from articles and comments of people who help built as a result  Bulan Observer as a Platform to express views and concerns for all Tagabulans and Bikolanos alike.

 “As in any democracy, plurality of views and opinions is an integral part of the society. Nevertheless, we should strive for responsible way of expressing such opinions and the public should exercise a differentiated reaction to such opinions.”  jun asuncion  About Bulan Observer

“The Bulan Municipality is maintained to look clean but it has obviously a powerful-secured- indoor Corruption Hall. ” prodebate4

“After this era, i should admit im still indirectly struggling with the remnants of the 20 years deep rooted corruption or evils in all sectors of our society. But–this is my country. It will take time to re-educate and create a new breed of disciplined, self-reliant, intelligent Filipinos loving their own country and trusting their fellowmen” prodebate4

“pagod na rin po ang mga nakakaraming sambayanan ngunit may takot sa isip na baka balikan kong sila ay maki-alam at lumaban sa mala diktadurang pamumuno ng mayora at ex gimeng. patunay lamang na isang instrumento ang pananakot na ginagamit ng administrasyong ito para manatili sa poder.” gmbaula

“This is the main damage that is overlooked when we talk about the havoc of corruption, i.e., that corrupt older generation practically kills their young ones by leaving them a broken society that cannot hold them together. Here the young ones cannot win but only lose. It’s not primarily the lost Kaban Ng Bayan stolen by the adults that renders the youth hopeless and lifeless but it is the archetypal hero that is stolen from them that brings the greatest damage to the youth.” jun asuncion The Fight For Progress

“Self-reliance leads to creativity and deep reflections. A dependent being is weak and crippled, devoid of creativity, helpless. Such is a society which has not learned to do -it-herself. A helpless being is vulnerable to manipulation and slavery. Such is the destiny of a society, it will  perinially  have to do with dictators and corrupt government officials.” jun asuncion On Self-Reliance

“My congratulations to you dahil sayo ka palan na supporter ni nonong guyala. Yadto tabi na sinabi ni ex-mayor de castro “kun dire niyo gusto kung pano i-administrar an bulan, humali kamo”, may partikular lang tabi ini na grupo sin mga tawo, sayo na doon si nonong guyala. Dire man intero an taga-bulan.” Senior Citizen to jun asuncion

“Basi tabi gusto mo bisitahon an sadire mo na bongto kay binanggit mo pa an pagdonar nira san sayo na hektarya para bugsukan san terminal, na pinangaranan mo pa na “de castro terminal”, kay nano tabi, kaya mo man magdonar? Haputa daw tabi an sadire mo kun nano man an na contribute mo sa ikadidianes san bulan? Umuli ka tabi basi maaraman mo an problema san bulan nyan an progreso niyan na eenjoy san mga taga-bulan” Senior Citizen to jun asuncion

“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..” Office Of The Mayor- Bulan

“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.” Office Of The Mayor- Bulan

“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.” Tony Boy

“Diri po nagpapakaraot an mga Guyala kan Guiming o kan Mayora. Si Guiming asin si Mayora po mismo an ngararaot sin pagkatawo nira base sa kanira himo2. Ang mga Guyala lang tabi, lalo na si Nonong Guyala, na may pagmakulog sa Bulan an nagsisiwarat sin mga ini sa ato kabobongto sa mga articulo niya sa kaniya blog na KABATAS.”  Nenette Guyala-Bustillos   comment To Senior Citizen 

“Para sabihon mo tabi na an intotokoy lang ni Guiming de Castro sin sinabi niya an “humali kamo sa Bulan kun diri niyo gusto kun pan-o i- administrar an Bulan” ay para lang sa partikular na grupo, sayo na si Nonong Guyala. Diri po ini tama. Surmaton lang ini sin sayo na bata ha!.” Nenette Guyala-Bustillos comment To Senior Citizen 

“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.” Berting

“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?” Burudikbudik  comment on An Kaayadan Niyo, Obligasyon Mi

“The above has taught me that success in life is not measured by what or how much we achieved but by how much we bring out the best in us.” attybenji  comment  To Senior Citizen

 “Bulan, in particular, is now looking for the principled leader whose integrity cannot be compromised in exchange of financial advantage, political affiliation and other monetary consideration…. We are looking for the real “mr. clean” in public service, who will become future leader of bulan, the incorruptible with progressive mind, so that we can translate the word politics at least into positive and progressive thing in public service” attybenji’s  comment on The Future Of Bulan

“The challenge to all tagaBulans that – “Unless the poor are determined not to be poor, poverty cannot be solved.” Nato tabi an hihimuon ta sine? Deri man pwede na makurunol nalang kita, ala juan tamad syndrome… Siempre kinakaipuhan tabi na an mga nasa kapangyarihan o nasa pwesto maghimo sin mga remedyo o estratihiya para makalampas kita san sobra na pagtios, deri pagparalabutan an pundo san gobierno, dapat an mga tawo an makinabang san gracia san gobierno, an kadaghanan liwat san nasa pwesto nato puro kickback o komisyun lang san project an iniirisip….. ayaw man tabi sun!” attybenji  Tagabulans To Fight Poverty

“Maybe someday, or in the years to come, the town of Bulan will step forward as a progressive & first class municipality in the country thru the initiative of our local executives and politicians, sans political bickering and animosity.” attybenji  Cooperation And Unity Among Tagabulans

“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. ” attybenji comment on “AN KAAYADAN NIYO, OBLIGASYON MI”

“In the town of BULAN per se, political dynasties are also prevalent long time ago and up to the present time, we have the de Castro clan and the Gotladera-Gillego clan, (for the Gotladera-Gillego i.e, then ex-Mayors, Taleon and wife, Nena Gillego-Gotladera, and ex-Congressman Boning Gillego, a brother of Nena, and now, Olap, grandson of Taleon & Nena), and for the de Castro clan, i.e., then, Assemblywoman, Nene de Castro, ex-Mayors Luis de Castro, Vito de Castro and Guiming deCastro, and now, Rosa de Castro, wife of Guiming – all in the family affair, a family business and source of livelihood. ” attybenji  Political Dynasties in Local Politics-a Lucrative Family Business

“The people of Bulan should sharpen their senses so that they may rightly distinguish a constructive from an obstructive critical stand towards the local government. An obstructive opposition has at its nucleus the motive of revenge, therefore, it has no place in a town that’s fighting for progress.”  jun asuncion  Assuming Without Admitting

“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”  jun asuncion

“When you claim to  feed the poor children with a banner behind that says “Nutrition Program by the Municipal Mayor” then you are just making a fool out of these poor people. For obviously you’re using their empty stomach to prepare for your second term on the next election. When you call out loud on your constituents as your “manga padaba” (my dearest ones), you’re actually  indirectly buying their votes- and cheating them when by the same token you refuse to tell the truth about your expenses. The Kaban Ng Bayan normally belongs to the people- but not to you and your own family. So don’t empty it. This is a fact that stands in any democratic political primer.” jun asuncion Quid Pro Qou Democracy

“… there is also this problem of definition. Every now and then the government would release statistics saying the economy grew. The people would not ask nor require the government an explanation why this figure and that. As a result, the government became comfortable and believed its own propaganda to be true.” J. A. Carizo Chicken And Egg Question

“I strongly agree with Rudy B. especially on the aspect of technology development. But the problem here lies not just on the “guts” or  “political will” of those in the government but also on their  “personal interests”.  J. A. Carizo  comment on Lessons We Should Have Learned Long Ago

“With regards the report of Mayor Helen de Castro on education, well, that is a way of helping the people of Bulan change intellectually. With an increasing number of educated citizens of Bulan, we can expect a decreasing number of gun-toting citizens harassing or killing others for the sake of money. With education, magkakaroon na kasi ng karagdagang oportunidad ang mga tao na makapaghanap ng trabaho. Kung may trabaho na, siyempre di na gagawa ng illegal. Bawas holdapan, bawas patayan, bawas nakawan. So kudos to Mayor de Castro.” J. A. Carizo  comment on The Pen Or The Sword

“Who is replacing the old corrupt politicians?  Their children!  Their children found out in their early age that to be successful and rich, you have to be in politics. The family of  de Venecias, the Macapagals, the Arroyos, the Estradas, the Marcoses etc, etc” The Call Of The Wild  Sad for my Country

“Take pride in your work. When you work, give your 100% effort. You will feel better when you are honest with yourself.  At the end of the day, you can honestly say that you earned every centavo you made that day. It is a good feeling. For once in your life, you were honest and didn’t cheat.”  Tiger Of Serengeti  Poignant Memories Of  The Distant Past

“These people were uncorrupted by greediness. They live in harmony with nature. The Aetas, the Ifugaos, the Igorots, and other native tribes lived in this beautiful land long before this country was called the Philippines. The native people had taken care of this land with the best of their ability as dictated by their beliefs and conscience” Tiger Of Serengeti  Poignant Memories Of  The Distant Past

“Kay lakas ng iyong sigaw
Nagbabadya ng isang banta
Sa sasakop sa iyong tropa
Matatalim na matay nakadilat na
Kitang-kita na handa ka na”  Milagros  Uwak  in Poetry

“i have no doubt that the future indeed lies upon the youth of today. you’re right in saying that they are the tangible present entity that connects us in the future. that’s why, every time i open this site i can’t help myself pause for a while and focus on the picture, scrutinize and analyze the faces of the children.” mr. rudyb  They Need Someone, A Leader

“… in my response I mentioned the “dead” Managanaga river how it became the longest dumping garbage site of our town. during my high school days I remembered it as the longest toilette, I graduated from Quezon Academy and our alma mater is guilty of contributing to the degradation of the river. ” mr. rudyb comment

“going back to your report, this is really laudable and praiseworthy as this is the first step or even several steps ahead in bringing up environmental consciousness and awareness amongst the residents of Bulan. But I also sincerely hope that the administration can take measures in saving our natural resources, habitat and surroundings.”  mr. rudyb on Garbage Site now an Eco Park 

“Ang pobreng tatay ay nag-aararo sa bukid sa ulan at sa init siya’y nakalantad
Ang pobreng nanay ay nagluluto ng kanin na may halong camote,
Toyo ang ulam at kong minsan ay asin.
Ang kahirapang dinaranas nila , dibdib nila ay sumisigaw
Nasaan ang katarungan, Nasaan ka, bayan ko, saklolohan mo ako”  Dora The Mouse  Bayan Ko, Nasan Ka?

“I traveled and went to far places to search for that elusive HAPPINESS. It was a lonely road. I’ve seen poor people on the sidewalk begging for food, a mother with a child in her arms sitting and trying to breastfeed her child but the child continued to cry. I know that the woman probably does not have enough milk. She herself looks emaciated and hungry” Dora The Mouse  When Money is Not Everything

“So, what is it? It’s been there for many years and had been serving the poor people for a long time. Maybe it already served some of you but you don’t know who is behind the scene for I don’t seek glory or praise. I am just happy and contented doing it and thankful to God for  guiding me find my niche and  giving me the courage and wisdom to do my mission in my small humble way.” Dora The Mouse  When Money is Not Everything

“Prioritize the municipal hospital. The health of the constituents should be placed as one of the top of priorities. Don’t have to close the hospital; just upgrade the facilities, re-train the personnel (especially on how to treat the patients regardless of economic status), and add doctors to suit the needs of the people.The people don’t need lip service but public service. The leaders owe this to the people.” Karl comment on Authors

“When I first encountered your site, I thought  “bulan” refers to an ilocano word which means buwan (moon or month). And as I read along, I learned that Bulan Observer was launched as a Sorsogon mouthpiece.”  TJ Tesoro on Authors

 “The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) cited Mayor Helen C. De Castro of Bulan, Sorsogon as one of the Most Outstanding Mayors in the Philippines in the area of ecological protection during the League’s 2008 General Assembly at the Manila Hotel on November 19-21, 2008. Vice-President NoliDe Castro, representing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented Mayor De Castro a Special LMP Medallion and a Plaque of Commendation for her efforts.” PIO-Bulan Tony Boy Gilana

“Personally, I have observed that in Bulan one can talk with our people and with our leaders. One should only transcend negative emotions and be open-minded without losing one’s objectives for the town. It is this “town-first” position that gives us the courage to say what we think and pushes us to continue finding ways to engage in a constructive dialogue with our people and with our leaders.” jun asuncion One year Bulan Observer

“This Christmas Day of 2008, let us honor Nanette Vytiaco, Tony Ariado and the rest of their group who died with good visions in their minds for Bulan and who activated good things within each of us we didn’t know  existing”  jun asuncion   Nanette Vytiaco And Tony Ariado: A Retrospect

“Back to Bulan, I ask you all political leaders and public officials to draw significant lessons from Obama’s political culture and to try to integrate them in your daily political thinking. Remember to put the town first. This is one step to transcendental politics.” jun asuncion  Transcendental White House

“In this way colonization was not really put to an end – and most of us do not realize this- but practically continues  until this day in our country in the form of Catholicism and Trapos(traditional politicians) who share a common mission: to keep the Filipino masses just where they are- poor and dependent, wherein the Catholic Church is interested only in the life thereafter and in the collection of offerings and its shallow crusade for moral betterment  but not in birth/population control, while the political dynasties keep the monopoly of  political rule to themselves” jun asuncion   The Perfect Society

“I admire your work on the Bulan Observer. Its long-term goal of creating a huge non-partisan Bulan On-line Community that let members post their thoughts on corrupt practices and injustices in the town is impressive. It is really admirable that you harness new technology in encouraging pro-activeness and vigilance among people. Continue your good work! ” Chiz Escudero to jun asuncion

“Kaya ngane, nahiyom na lang ako , kun may mga tawo, na dahil sa politika, an paghuna mo sira lang an maaram magmakulog sa komunidad . As if patriotism and love for community is exclusive! Didi ko naimud nan nareparo an ati san politika na may mga nagkapira na tawo na dahil gusto man magpakila na padaba nira an komunidad hihimuon an entero na ratakon, dustaon nan pakaraoton ka.” Mayor Helen De Castro 2008 Year-end Report


Those were the voices of last year, the highlights of Bulan democratic dialogues that established Bulan Observer as a platform for Tagabulans and Bikolanos to exchange their views and concerns. The Bikolanos are famous for their oppositional nature. We are principled people who would be willing to rather eat copra or die of hunger than to trade his principle for a plate of rice. This explains why we cannot understand  and accept erring Bicolano politicians for they simply do not fit our expectations. We expect straight  and morally upright Bicol politicians to lead us locally or represent us in Manila. Some of them failed but at the moment we see a ray of hope in the person of Francis Escudero, whom Bolante himself admitted that Francis would never accept the FF -Scam money no matter how his (Bolante’s) people tried to convince him at that time. A Bicolano who involves himself in such scams and accepts stolen money has lost the support of the people, his face and moral authority no matter how he pretends that he cares for Bicol; a sad example of this is Cong. Solis.

Now, I think we have achieved a small step with our peaceful method of change by being able to establish a dialogue with our fellow Tagabulans. Significant change was in  our perception of our local officials. Before, everything about our local government  seemed to be shrouded in black, that our local officials were kind of unknown and secret identities who had nothing in mind but to cheat the people and enrich themselves. This negative picture was due in part to the things that others had written about our local municipal officials and partly due to the lack of communication in the past of our local officials. There was no transparency and in the light of the Bus Terminal Scandal of last year, the mayor had informed the people very little but instead just let the Guyala Group publish their own view of the matter. It was not the the Guyala Group was wrong in doing so but- due to De Castro’s passivity and ineptness- it had the effect of giving us a one-sided estimate of the matter.
I myself was searching for answers at that time, browsed the internet  day and night and visited the LGU-Bulan Website many times in the hope of finding some case-related publications from our mayor. I did not find anything but irritations for their Website was devoid of any useful actual information; nothing substantial in there and not even a single photo of our mayor as I was trying to find out how she looks like or that of other municipal officials and workers or even that of her projects like the Bus Terminal, etc. The Website was not being updated. It was then when I began to doubt the credibility of our Local Government. It was a simple logic: If there is nothing to hide, then things should be shared, i.e., be published. Just like Iriga City with its very friendly and useful Website upon which I accidentally landed in my search for Bulan. This impressed my hopeless situation that’s why I quickly placed a link to it in our site as a sign of appreciation. In Bulan, the Office Of Our Mayor had published nothing about the hot issues, so something must be wrong, I thought. This is the normal human reaction to such situations, which actually may not be right but the lack of information reinforces such a reaction. The mistake here was on the side of the mayor’s Public Information Office for it did not publish any official position paper at that time. I listened to the taped radio interviews available but they did not help clarify things for either Ex-Mayor Guiming had only attacked the Guyala and Atty. Deri group or Tony Boy Gilana had not substantiated his words with facts. What the public needed at that time was an objective and documented official publication defining the position of the De Castros and at the same time providing the public (local, national and international! ) with an overview of the controversy, instead of using the word “court” ( “The case is already in the court“, or “It’s up to the court to decide”, etc.) to pacify the people’s cry for clarity, accountability and transparency. The  court or courtroom is no substitute for good politics and it does not constitute the town itself.

Now we hope that we have learned from experience and as we journey together the whole year through, the roads to Bulan may at times be  rough and uninviting. Yet this should not rob us of our good intentions.

Best Regards To All Of You!


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Rose Of The Week To LGU-Bulan

Quick Pressbaccara_rose  Bulan Observer                                                                 

For the efficient response  of the LGU-Bulan under  Mayor Helen De Castro to the floodings that hit Bulan leading to evacuation of a number of families  last Sunday, Bulan Observer presents the Rose Of The Week to Mayor De Castro together with the Public Information Office under Tony Boy Gilana and the Municipal Social Welfare And Development Office and Bulan Municipal Administrator Luis De Castro.

For their prompt help in forms of emergency shelter, clothings, food supplies, etc., given to our affected people, our officials receive our recognition for doing their duties and for preventing damage to life to occur in such a record flood in Bulan. Accept our Rose Of The Week!

                                                                                            -Bulan Observer-

A Greeting From The Mouse

Hello Jun and family,
… Happy New Year! I know it has been awhile since I communicated with you. I had been busy the past months. I read your latest articles and other contributors of the Bulan Observer. Bulan Observer is a great channel for people to express their thoughts, opinions, concerns, ideas, inspirations, experiences and most of all it opens the way for people to freely express their voices and to be heard and not to be intimidated. I am writing a few articles and will be ready in the next few weeks. Again, I want to thank you as the administrator and one of the authors of Bulan Observer for the dedicated services it offers. God Bless You and your family.

Dora the Mouse