From: Tonyboy Gilana, Bulan PIO

Bulan, Sorsogon, December 11, 2009: We are here furnishing our internet readers, particularly Bulanenos and Sorsoguenos, of the complete list of provincial/congressional candidates who filed with the Provincial Comelec Office to run in the forthcoming May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections:


1. Amadeo “Ding” S. Brin, Philippines Green Republican Party;

2. Ramon “Monching” M. Gallinera, Aksyon Demokratiko/Liberal Party

3. Felizardo “Feliz” G. Garil, Alpha Omega 9K Party

4. Antonio “Tony” V. Imperial, Independent

5. Sally A. Lee, Lakas-Kampi CMD

6. Jose G. Solis, Kampi Party


1. Guillermo “Guiming” O. De Castro, Lakas-Kampi -CMD

2. Rosario “Cherry” D. Diaz, Kampi Party

3. Antonio “Kruni” H. Escudero, NPC/Liberal Party

4. Nida F. Gamos, Aksyon Demokratiko/Liberal Party

5. Mirafe D. Godisan, Alpha Omega 9K Party


1. Abitria, Edgar M, Independent

2. Amor, Owen B., Kampi Party

3. Anonuevo, Rolando, R, Lakas-Kampi CMD

4. Aquino, Rebecca DL. , Liberal Party

5. Borromeo , Nonito, Jr. , J, Kampi

6. De Hitta, Joseph G., Kampi

7. De Jesus, Gregorio M., NPC/ Liberal Party

8. Dioneda, Mark Eric, C., Liberal Party

9. Duran, Fernando David III, Lakas-Kampi CMD

10. Hitta, Marife L. Independent

11. Laguna, Ferdinand E. , Kampi Party

12. Lotino, Eddie O., KBL

13. Lucila, Raul M. PDP Laban

14. Marianito, Ramil A. Nacionalista Party

15. Merciales, Antonio R. NPC/Liberal Party

16. Perete, Arnulfo L., Liberal Party

17. Ravanilla, Franco Eric Ong, Liberal Party


1. Barrun, Rolando G., Independent

2. Camposano, Gina F, Kampi Party

3. Doma, Benito, L., Lakas-Kampi CMD

4. Escandor, Angel E., Lakas Kampi CMD

5. Flores, Mariam D. Kampi Party

6. Frivaldo, Francisco G., Lakas Kampi CMD

7. Frivaldo, Juanita T. AksyonDemokratiko/Liberal

8. Frivaldo, Vladimir Ramon B., Kampi Party

9. Fungo, Salvador G. Independent

10. Genova, Angelita A. Alpha Omega 9K Party

11. Gois, Joey L. , Liberal Party

12. Gonzales, Toby A. , Lakas Kampi CMD

13. Guban, Renato DV, Lakas Kampi CMD

14. Guyala, Albino G., Kampi Party

15. Laguna , Theophane, E., Independent

16. Lopez, Saturnino L. Independent

17. Reyes, Carlos M., Kampi Party

18. So, Gino G. , LP/NPC


1. Escudero, Salvador H. , NPC

2. Hamor, Edwin B., Nacionalista Party


1. De Guzman, Flocerfida A, Kampi Party

2. Escalante, Edmundo H., PMP

3. Gavanzo, Rosario G., Alpha Omega 9K Party

4. Glipo, Arze G. , Partido Demikratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan

5. Golpeo, Ricardo G., NPC

6. Guysayko, Juan G., Nacionalista Party

7. Ong, Sappho Gillego, Independent

8. Ramos, Cyril E., Independent

9. Ramos, Deogracias, B., Liberal Party

Meanwhile, in Sorsogon City, it will be a fight between incumbent Mayor Leovic Dioneda (Liberal Party) and the incumbent Vice-Mayor Edmundo Atutubo(PMP) for the mayoralty, while the Governor’s son Bobet Lee (Lakas Kampi CMD) will slug it out against incumbent councilor Roel Sta. Ana (Independent).

There are three councilorial districts in Sorsogon City, East, West and Bacon District. A total of 56 candidates will vie for the councilorial positions.

In Barcelona Town, Second District, Incumbent Mayor Salvador Estuye (Kampi) will try for a second term on an one-on -one battle against Provincial Administrator Manuel “Wowo” Fortes ( Nacionalista Party). There are four vice-mayoralty candidates and 21 candidates for councilor.

In Donsol Town, home of the world-famous Butandings or whale-sharks. Incumbent Mayor Jerome Alcantara (Liberal Party) will fight against three other mayoralty candidates: former Mayor Salve Ocaya (Lakas Kampi CMD), Incumbent Vice-Mayor Cleofe Migdonio (Aksyon Demokratiko/Liberal Party) and Pancho Abitria of Kampi Party. There are three vice-mayoralty candidates and 31 candidates for the municipal council.

Other Sorsogon towns will follow in our next PIO news release. /


Wise Guys Vs. Wise Men

  By Oliver Geronilla


Times have indeed changed! Gone were the days when rumor-mongering, yellow journalism, and character assassination were confined to the walls of beauty salons, roadside eateries, and other similar places where rancor and candor filled the bucolic air of yore. Now you can see people from different walks of life—fishwives, henpecked husbands, bums, government and non-government workers–doing it anytime, anywhere.

Welcome to the world of the The Chatterbox!

Expect this so-called national “pastime” to go several notches higher as more and more issues–both real and concocted– surface out in time for the local and national elections. Certainly, we’ll all be tickled pink with how political parties try to outsmart each other. This is the perfect time to spot the differences between wise guys and wise men as they engage themselves in this seasonal battle of wits and dough.

And so, this early, we find people in Bulan talking about “culture” in juxtaposition with “corruption” to peddle things and ideas with all the feigned glitter and pomp of the cognoscenti. Not surprisingly, many people are tempted to buy their “merchandise” either attractively wrapped in legalese or painstakingly presented in pathos-laden dialectics. The result: mushrooming of ideas that are meant to condition the mind which of course can eventually lead to a warped weltanschauung.

Bulaneno, who remains incognito– at least to me and to other Bulan netizens– sparked my interest to examine his shrewd ways of achieving three things: getting “feedback” from the local chief executive, winning the people’s heart and sympathy, and of course creating ripples.

Making and maintaining a blog solely for the purpose of showing those purported hard facts did not– in any manner– explicitly malign anyone nor did it put things in proper perspective. In fact, Bulaneno has left things hanging and open creating reactions that are poles apart: suspicion from the sitting chief executive including his phalanx of supporters and perhaps adulation from the other side of the fence.

It would have been better if he presented what he believed to be the crux of the matter as an integral part of his blog, not as a separate opinion piece written as a rejoinder to the Municipal PIO’s commentary. But if his only purpose was just to inform the people of Bulan about these alleged shenanigans, then he failed quite miserably. All he got was a “commentary” from the Municipal PIO and some comments from a very small group of Bulan netizens- a number too minuscule to warrant change. After all, how many households in Bulan are wired?

It’s impossible for Bulaneno not to know that only a few could read his blog; and mostly, these people already have their own beliefs and principles that are hard to change.

With that in mind, I also wonder what prompted Mr. Gilana to waste his time reacting to a mere compendium of data. Things should have been taken at face value. But perhaps the urge to protect the image of the administration from being tarnished made him write a commentary followed by a riposte.

The Municipal PIO’s decision to respond to that blog–through a commentary– was quite understandable, but the ensuing write-ups from both sides turned things askew.

So came the awful use of terms and the scathing retorts made somewhat comical by the insertion of irrelevant facts and/or red herring which did not escape the eyes of Ms. Mila Asuncion and other Bulan Observers.

Libelous  remarks were obviously sugarcoated so as to avoid legal sanctions, but the allusions were crystal clear. Had it not been for the skillful use of language, how do you think would Mr. Gilana refer to that person who “pocketed a measly amount of P2, 000?” And how would Bulaneno rephrase the title of his article and perhaps rehash his concluding sentences?

These, to me, are what the culture vultures call the edification of what’s obviously not edifying.

Well, to say that “corruption exists in Bulan” is not downright wrong. We’re not born yesterday to believe that no one is corrupt in our hometown. In fact, it’s easier to understand and believe that “there is some sort of corruption in Bulan” than to totally deny it.

Perhaps, the problem, which is further compounded by our myopic views, rests on how we define corruption vis-a-vis culture. Jun Asuncion hit the right note when he dropped the word “culture” to refer to the problem of corruption that allegedly haunts the local government of Bulan. Yes, Jun, you’re right…. that’s “The Issue of Corruption, and not The Culture of Corruption.” And most, if not all, issues can be addressed given the right frame of mind and the drive to do it.

Let’s all be reminded that when engaging in a public discourse, there’s a need to be politically correct. This should be coupled with a holistic understanding of the issue at hand, pragmatic competence, and an honest and relevant presentation of facts so as not to mislead people from the real nub of the issue.

So, I ask: What’s the real score? Is it really about those whom we accuse of committing graft and corruption? Or is it about “the subculture” that nurtures and allows it to prosper?

Makes me wonder.     //


The Town Of Bulan Is Different

Or, Reprisal-Free Bulan Politics

 by jun asuncion

Linking Bulan Observer to Bulan-LGU Website is a sign of maturity-  for both. Maturity because it is all about constructive dialogue, maturity because it is about public service and transparency, maturity because it is about democracy.

We cannot expect perfection from both of these Bulan platforms yet we strive to make them the best they possibly can be within our own Bulan concept of democracy. Democracy is best experienced in a town level for people still know each other. While  in the national level democracy is being insulted or abraded by some egoistic figures or polarized by crab mentality, Schadenfreude, envy and rancor, we Bulaneños have the chance to prove to the whole Philippines that we value town  democracy and constitutional rights and respect our own people.

Democracy offers us options on how to relate to things that matter to us in Bulan. We can cast our ballot secretly for instance but a useful debate must be public. And- in this kind of debate-  identity matters.

Hence, anonymity- though a democratic right or prerogative-  loses also its effectiveness in some democratic processes like civil discourse. Now that politics, business and social life have been “uploaded” on-line, human emotions and attitudes have also been uploaded on-line and mostly they are protected by anonymity when it comes to messages of  hate, back-biting or recrimination.

 Still, it is rude and irresponsible, vindictive in motive or perhaps cowardly when one hides behind anonymity when engaging in a discourse or publishing a claim,  particularly when one is criticising or attacking somebody. Nevertheless, I still support the right to anonymity when posting  general comments or comments that are emphatic yet  grounded  and in context and  not directly offensive against anyone in Bulan. However, a signed comment is still the best.

On the other hand, when people choose to hide their identity when talking politics, it is also indicative of fear of reprisal  which is understandable within the Philippine political context in general. Again, this should be a great chance for Bulan to show to the whole Philippines that we are different from the rest in this respect. Since Bulan is now also uploaded online, we hope that the LGU- Bulan Website and all other sites involving Bulan will contribute to our goal of reprisal-free Bulan politics and that this will be made manifest in the way Bulaneños involve themselves in our dialogue.

It is a courageous step forward for the LGU-Bulan to integrate critical voices of Bulan by linking Bulan Observer to its official site. In this manner, the LGU-Bulan has protected itself from any future criticism of being one-sided and not open for dialogue with its constituents at home and abroad. It is a sign that the incumbent Mayor Helen De Castro is for progress and constructive dialogue.

Bulan Observer is not against the idea of government. Its goal has been clearly defined from  the very beginning. And it is not about me or about the authors, contributors and commenters but is about working together for a brighter Bulan.

I’ve read all the entries in this Bulaneño Blog where it talked about the Bulan Terminal and the corresponding  Commission On Audit COA Special Report. I leave it as it is and found it wiser not to engage in dialogue with it  nor link it in Bulan Observer for the very reason that the authorship is unknown. Or  if it is because of the fear of reprisal- real or imagined-  that he chooses to be incognito, then I suppose it is better  for him to stop his activity so that he will live a normal life without such kind of fear or fear of being outed, i.e., exposed sooner or later. We know that constant fear is detrimental to mental and physical health.  But that’s his decision. That it had not published until now the LGU-Bulan’s  response through Mr. Gilana was in a way expected and also an attest to this Blog’s refusal of democratic dialogue. Again, identity matters in some issues, whereas anonymity protects yet, in some cases, renders a claim or argument not worthy of discussion or consideration. A serious democracy- let us not forget- is about fairness and  transparency.


What Moved The Con-grAssmen To Dance The Cha(os)-Cha(os)

Two articles I found today which I consider must be shared throughout the country, namely those who signed the “death sentence”  to  the 1987 Constitution and Loren Legarda’s assailing  Gloria for JBC Directive.

– Congressmen Who Signed Con Ass- and perhaps because of the promised P20 million for each by Malacañang – as  posted in Loren Legarda’s politicalarena column:

On P20M more pork for con-ass congressmen

Posted 29/1 5:08AM | Comments (0)

“That’s a disturbing report – that lawmakers had been promised P20 million each by Malacanang just to ram House Resolution 1109, setting up a constituent assembly without Senate participation. If true, the move is akin to dangling a carrot in front of a hare or a quid pro quo. Worse, it may be seen, rightly or wrongly, as a bribe offer. But what else is new? It seems this administration will not spare any means just to extend its term past 2010. They are fooling no one. We all know that they want to amend the Constitution for purposes other than helping the economy take off.”

Jose Solis of Sorsogon 2 District  is again on the list! – as he was on Bolante’s  list.  He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice-  the Santa Claus Of Sorsogon.

In any case I counted all in all 172 Con-Assmen who signed; 172   multiplied by P20million pesos  =  P3, 440 billion! Again, our farmers will be forced to continue their suffering.


Reprentatives District/Sector

ABANTE, BIENVENIDO M. Pandacan, 6th District

ABLAN, ROQUE R. JR. Ilocos Norte, 1st District

AGBAYANI, VICTOR AGUEDO E. Pangasinan, 2nd District

AGYAO, MANUEL, S. Kalinga Province

ALBANO (III), RODOLFO T. Isabela, 1st District

ALFELOR, FELIX R. JR. Camarines Sur, 4th District

ALMARIO, THELMA Z. Davao Oriental, 2nd District

ALVAREZ, ANTONIO C. Palawan, 1st District

ALVAREZ, GENARO RAFAEL M. JR. Negros Occidental, 6th District

AMANTE, EDELMIRO A. Agusan Del Norte, 2nd District

– –

AMATONG, ROMMEL C. Compostela Valley, 2nd District

ANGPING, MARIA ZENAIDA B. Manila, 3rd District

ANTONINO, RODOLFO W. Nueva Ecija, 4th District

APOSTOL, TRINIDAD G. Leyte, 2nd District

AQUINO, JOSE S. (II) Agusan del Norte, 1st District

ARAGO, MARIA EVITA R. Laguna, 3rd District

ARBISON, A MUNIR M. Sulu, 2nd District

ARENAS, MA. RACHEL J. Pangasinan, 3rd District

ARROYO, DIOSDADO M. Camarines Sur, 1st District

ARROYO, IGNACIO T. Negros Occidental, 5th district

– –

ARROYO, JUAN MIGUEL M. Pampanga, 2nd District

BAGATSING, AMADO S. Manila, 5th District

BALINDONG, PANGALIAN M. Lanao del Sur, 2nd District

BARZAGA, ELPIDIO F. JR. Cavite, 2nd District

BAUTISTA, FRANKLIN P. Davao Del Sur, 2nd District

BELMONTE, VICENTE F. JR. Lanao del Norte, 1st District

BICHARA, AL FRANCIS C. Albay, 2nd District

BIRON, FERJENEL G. Iloilo, 4th District

BONDOC, ANNA YORK P. Pampanga 4th District

BONOAN-DAVID, MA. THERESA B. Manila, 4th District

– –

BRAVO, NARCISO R. JR. Masbate, 1st District


BUHAIN, EILEEN ERMITA Batangas, 1st District

BULUT, ELIAS C. JR. Apayao Lone District

CAGAS (IV), MARC DOUGLAS C. Davao Del Sur, 1st District

CAJAYON, MARY MITZI L. Caloocan, 2nd District

CAJES, ROBERTO C. Bohol, 2nd District

CARI, CARMEN L. Leyte, 5th District

CASTRO, FREDENIL H. Capiz, 2nd District

CELESTE, ARTHUR F. Pangasinan, 1st District

– –

CERILLES, ANTONIO H. Zamboanga Del Sur, 2nd District

CHATTO, EDGARDO M. Bohol, 1st District

CHONG, GLENN A. Biliran, Lone District

CHUNG-LAO, SOLOMON R. Ifugao, Lone District

CLARETE, MARINA C. Misamis Occidental, 1st District

CODILLA, EUFROCINO M. SR. Leyte, 4th District

COJUANCO, MARK O. Pangasinan, 5th District

COQUILA, TEODULO M. Eastern Samar, Lone District

CRISOLOGO, VINCENT P. Quezon City, 1st District

CUA, JUNIE E. Quirino, Lone District

– –

CUENCO, ANTONIO V. Cebu City, 2nd District

DANGWA, SAMUEL M. Benguet, Lone District

DATUMANONG, SIMEON A. Maguindanao, Lone District

DAYANGHIRANG, NELSON L. Davao Oriental, 1st District

DAZA, NANETTE C. Quezon City, 4th District

DAZA, PAUL R. Northern Samar, 1st District

DE GUZMAN, DEL R. Marikina City, 2nd District

DEFENSOR, ARTHUR D. SR. Iloilo, 3rd District

DEFENSOR, MATIAS V. JR. Quezon City, 3rd District

DEL MAR, RAUL V. Cebu City, 1st District

– –

DIASNES, CARLO OLIVER D. (MD) Batanes, Lone District

DIMAPORO, ABDULLAH D. Lanao Del Norte, 2nd District

DOMOGAN, MAURICIO G. Baguio, Lone District

DUAVIT, MICHAEL JOHN R. Rizal, 1st District

DUENAS, HENRY M. JR. Taguig, 2nd District (2nd Councilor District)

DUMARPA, FAYSAH MRP. Lanao del Sur, 1st District

DUMPIT, THOMAS L. JR. La Union, 2nd District

DURANO (IV), RAMON H. Cebu, 5th District

ECLEO, GLENDA B. Dinagat Islands, Lone District

EMANO, YEVGENY VICENTE B. Misamis Oriental, 2nd District

– –

ENVERGA, WILFRIDO MARK M. Quezon, 1st District

ESTRELLA, CONRADO M. (III) Pangasinan, 6th District


FERRER, JEFFREY P. Negros Occidental, 4th District

GARAY, FLORENCIO C. Surigao Del Sur, 2nd District

GARCIA, ALBERT S. Bataan, 2nd District

GARCIA, PABLO JOHN F. Cebu, 3rd District

GARCIA, PABLO P. Cebu, 2nd District

GARCIA, VINCENT J. Davao City, 2nd District

GARIN, JANETTE L. Iloilo, 1st District

– –

GATCHALIAN, REXLON T. Valenzuela City, 1st District

GATLABAYAN, ANGELITO C. Antipolo City, 2nd District

GO, ARNULFO F. Sultan Kudarat, 2nd District

GONZALES, AURELIO D. JR. Pampanga, 3rd District


GULLAS, EDUARDO R. Cebu, 1st District

GUNIGUNDO, MAGTANGGOL T. Valenzuela City, 2nd District

HOFER, DULCE ANN K. Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District

JAAFAR, NUR G. Tawi-Tawi, Lone District

JALA, ADAM RELSON L. Bohol, 3rd District

– –

JALOSJOS, CESAR G. Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District

JALOSJOS-CARREON, CECILIA G. Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District

JIKIRI, YUSOP H. Sulu, 1st District

KHO, ANTONIO T. Masbate, 2nd District

LABADLABAD, ROSENDO S. Zamboanga del Norte, 2nd District

LACSON, JOSE CARLOS V. Negros Occidental, 3rd District

LAGDAMEO, ANTONIO F. JR. Davao del Norte, 2nd District

LAPUS, JECI A. Tarlac, 3rd District

LAZATIN, CARMELO F. Pampanga, 1st District

LIM, RENO G. Albay, 3rd District

– –

LOPEZ, JAIME C. Manila, 2nd District

MADRONA, ELEANORA JESUS F. Romblon, Lone District

MAGSAYSAY, MARIA MILAGROS H. Zambales, 1st District

MALAPITAN, OSCAR G. Caloocan, 1st District

MAMBA, MANUEL N. Cagayan, 3rd District


MARANON, ALFREDO D. III Negros Occidental, 2nd District

MATUGAS, FRANCISCO T. Surigao del Norte, 1st District

MENDOZA, MARK LEANDRO L. Batangas, 4th District

MERCADO, ROGER G. Southern Leyte, Lone District

– –


NAVA, JOAQUIN CARLOS RAHMAN A. (MD) Guimaras, Lone District

NICOLAS, REYLINA G. Bulacan, 4th District

NOGRALES, PROSPERO C. Davao City, 1st District

OLAñO, ARREL R. Davao Del Norte, 1st District

ONG, EMIL L. Northern Samar, 2nd District

ORTEGA, VICTOR FRANCISCO C. La Union, 1st District


PANCHO, PEDRO M. Bulacan, 2nd District

PANCRUDO, CANDIDO P. JR. Bukidnon, 1st District

– –

PICHAY, PHILIP A. Surigao Del Sur, 1st District

PIñOL, BERNARDO F. JR. North Cotabato, 2nd District

PUNO, ROBERTO V. Antipolo City, 1st District

RAMIRO, HERMINIA M. Misamis Occidental, 2nd District

REMULLA, JESUS CRISPIN C. Cavite, 3rd District

REYES, CARMELITA O. Marinduque, Lone District

REYES, VICTORIA H. Batangas, 3rd District

ROBES, ARTURO G. San Jose Del Monte City, Lone District

Rodriguez-Zaldarriaga, Adelina Rizal, 2nd District

ROMAN, HERMINIA B. Bataan, 1st District

– –

ROMARATE, GUILLERMO A. JR. Surigao del Norte, 2nd District


ROMUALDO, PEDRO Camiguin, Lone District

ROMULO, ROMAN T. Pasig City, Lone District


SALIMBANGON, BENHUR L. Cebu, 4th District

SALVACION JR., ANDRES D. Leyte, 3rd District

SAN LUIS, EDGAR S. Laguna, 4th District

SANDOVAL, ALVIN S. Malabon-Navotas, Lone District

SANTIAGO, JOSEPH A. Catanduanes, Lone District

– –


SEACHON-LANETE, RIZALINA L. 3rd district of Masbate

SEARES-LUNA, CECILIA M. Abra, Lone District

SILVERIO, LORNA C. Bulacan, 3rd District

SINGSON, ERIC D. Ilocos Sur, 2nd District

SINGSON, RONALD V. Ilocos Sur, 1st District

SOLIS, JOSE G. Sorsogon, 2nd District


SUAREZ, DANILO E. Quezon, 3rd District

SUSANO, MARY ANN L. Quezon City, 2nd District

– –

SY-ALVARADO, MA. VICTORIA R. Bulacan, 1st District

SYJUCO, JUDY J. Iloilo, 2nd District

TALINO-MENDOZA, EMMYLOU J. North Cotabato, 1st District

TAN, SHAREE ANN T. Samar, 2nd District

TEODORO, MARCELINO R. Marikina City, 1st District


TEVES, PRYDE HENRY A. Negros Oriental, 3rd District

TUPAS, NEIL C. JR. Iloilo, 5th District

UNGAB, ISIDRO T. Davao City, 3rd District

UY, EDWIN C. Isabela, 2nd District

– –

UY, REYNALDO S. Samar, 1st District

UY, ROLANDO A. Cagayan De Oro City, Lone District


VALENCIA, RODOLFO G. Oriental Mindoro, 1st District

VARGAS, FLORENCIO L. Cagayan, 2nd District

VILLAFUERTE, LUIS R. Camarines Sur, 2nd District

VILLAROSA, MA. AMELITA C. Occidental Mindoro, Lone District

VIOLAGO, JOSEPH GILBERT F. Nueva Ecija, 2nd District

YAP, JOSE V. Tarlac, 2nd District

YU, VICTOR J. Zamboanga Del Sur, 1st District

– –

ZAMORA, MANUEL E. 1st District, Compostela Valley

ZIALCITA, EDUARDO C. Parañaque, 1st District


Read more: http://www.2010-election.com/2009/06/congressmen-who-signed-con-ass/#ixzz0Q57tQTIH

7/8 2:51PM

Loren assails Gloria for JBC Directive

Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday accused President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of trying to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

In a statement, Loren said “this could be the only possible motive why she rejected the list of six nominees to the Supreme Court submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council to fill two vacancies in the highest court.”

She declared that if the President “succeeds in packing the highest court of the land with men or women subservient to her will, the independence of the judiciary would be totally undermined.”

“With sensitive and crucial issues expected to be taken to the Supreme Court in the face of the approaching 2010 elections that could affect the future of our country, this move of the President is indeed alarming and ominous,” she asserted.

Among these issues is House of Representatives Resolution 1109 calling for a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution without the participation of the Senate as a separate body. Loren pointed out that more than 70 percent of the people oppose the proposal as shown by poll surveys.

She also stated that electoral protests arising from the conduct of the 2010 elections could be decided by a Supreme Court the majority of whose members could be “dictated to or controlled” by the president.

“Something is being cooked in Malacañang in preparation for the 2010 elections and it smells rotten,” said Loren.

She also asserted that the move of the President could even be considered a violation of the Constitution.

The Constitution states that “The members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every nominee” (Sec. 9. Article VIII).

“The JBC was precisely set up by the Constitution to ensure the independence of the judiciary,” Loren stated. “But if the President succeeds in manipulating the JBC to recommend men and women subservient to her will to the Supreme Court, she will have succeeded in undermining the independence of the judiciary.”

Loren dismissed as “unacceptable and shallow” the claim of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita that the President only wanted a “wider list”.

According to Loren, the Constitution gave the JBC the authority to submit at least three nominees to any vacancy in the Supreme Court or lower courts, or to expand that list according to its discretion.

“But the Constitution did not give any authority to the President to demand that the JBC submit more than three nominees for each vacancy. The President is bound to make her appointments from at least three nominees submitted by the JBC,” Loren pointed out.

That’s All For Now, Folks!


jun asuncion

The Death Of A Political Dynasty

(Or, Rediscovering Apolinario Mabini)

by jun asuncion


“…  Political dynasty  is also subject to natural death as history has shown us: it dies due to lack of next generation that will continue it or the shift in interest or lack of energy of the new generation, or continued strife with other political dynasties has led to total annihilation of the dynasty/clan members, continued political turmoils and rebellion leading to mass murder of clan members, loss of properties (lands, houses) and financial capital, internal strife among dynasty members, or simply sickness and death of all the remaining members.” (from my post Nannette Vytiaco… A Retrospect)

I wrote these lines a few months ago. The decline of the Kennedy Political Dynasty seems to be because of the first and last causes I cited above, which are the shift of interest or lack of energy of the new generation and death of the remaining members.

 With the death of Eduard “Ted” Kennedy, the Kennedy Dynasty is “over”, says Ben Bradlee, vice -president of Washington Post, or as Wilfred Macclay- political professor at Pepperdine University- says, ” The family has lost its vigor or momentum”.

The Kennedy held the “Kennedy Seat ” in American senate since 1947. With Ted’s death, the citizens of Massachusetts will decide in January for his successor.  However, it’s no more certain if it would be somebody  from the dynasty. Two persons are in question, namely Victoria Kennedy- the widow of the deceased senator and Joseph F. Kennedy II, a nephew of Teddy, and son of Robert “Bobby Kennedy, the senator, justice minister and presidential candidate who was murdered in 1968. Though most of the younger Kennedys are active as philanthropists, educators, environmental activist, founders of  charity organizations,  it seems though that no one among them has the political  interest or the profile to fullfil what  Joseph Patrick Kennedy, the founder of the clan, has set as the Kennedy’s motto: ” Win, don’t come as second or third. That doesn’t count”.

Months before his death, the deceased senator has declared his niece Caroline Kennedy-  daughter of president John F. Kennedy- as his successor. She tried last year- perhaps pressured by this expectation- to apply for Hillary Clinton’s seat in the senate. The news spread like fire and soon there were  brigades of journalists around her. Some of them started asking for her qualifications aside from being a Kennedy and being a daughter of a famous president. Soon the pressure came from all sides and she gave up her candidacy.

There is shadow where light is. And the Kennedys were not without scandals that shed shadows to their brilliant status: women, alcohol and drug addictions have also a share in their clan history. Joseph Kennedy II has political experience in his portfolio being a member of the American congress for six legislative periods but a book published by his ex-wife where she revealed his shadows forced him to give up his further  political ambitions. He is at the moment the boss of his “Citizens Energy”, a non-profit organization which supplies heating oil to the socially disadvantaged. The same with Patrick Joseph Kennedy, the son of  Ted Kennedy himself. He would have been the carrier of the Kennedy’s political shining legacy for he is still a member of the American congress representing Rhode Islands. But politically, he pales against the bright shining background of the past Kennedys. And he was also in the headlines for his drug  and alcohol addictions. The future is bleak for the political Kennedy, for the once strongest American political dynasty. And the way things present themselves today, it’s almost over.

Worth mentioning also is  the other  twin shadows that have accompanied  the luminary Kennedys which is tragedy  and cancer. Some of them ended tragic like John F. Kennedy Sr., and Robert Kennedy who were both assassinated, Joseph was killed in a plane crash during the Second World War, to be followed  decades later by his nephew John F. Kennedy, Jr. whose plane crashed into the waters around New York, one Kennedy was accused of rape-  though acquitted later on, ski and car accidents. Ted Kennedy himself was involved in a plane crash which he luckily survived. But the 1969 Chappaquiddick-scandal where, after an  alcohol party, the car he was driving fell into the river, causing the death of  his woman front-seat passenger, had definitely ended his journey to the White House. To round it all up, Jaqueline Kennedy died of cancer and, just recently, Ted Kennedy himself of brain tumor. You may think of a curse against the Kennedy Dynasty. But for sure, their risky lifestyle and their popularity contributed much to all these tragedies.

Back to the Philippines, we should never confuse our understanding of  Philippine political dynasty and attempt to justify it by referring to that  of  American political dynasty, for with all its flaws, the  American democratic institutions still function and this is where the difference of meaning and practice of political dynasty between these two countries start. The American politicians-whether belonging to a dynasty or not- still work as public servants and not as public plunderers of the nation’s wealth. Ted Kennedy used his 46 years in the senate  vigorously representing the socially weak  and creating laws for their welfare. The   U.S. electoral process alone already tells us that anybody eyeing for an elected position would readily give up as soon as a slight bad personal record has leaked to the public. In the Philippines, anybody can be president as long as he has the support of the wealthy people or political clans or the media  popularity or the undifferentiated voters and masa (populace). An ex- convict ex-president, a national gambler and alcoholic may even run again for presidency; or an incumbent president who, with her allies who support her Constituent  Assembly, tampers the 1987 Constitution for her own dynastic needs, not really for the welfare of the socially weak.

But since the political logic runs different in the Philippines, it follows that there is more to the inner logic that dictates the end of a political dynasty. For instance,  the Marcos dynasty was ended by a revolution, the Jueting republic of  Estrada suffered the same fate. It’s not only the lack of interest of the new generation or  the natural death of dynasty members but a revolution is inherent in this logic of social change- whether we like it or not- as long as the present political condtions persist and the voters  continued to be politically undifferentiated, hence, manipulable. For otherwise, a differentiated populace expresses its concepts of change through democratic ways and a differentiated government supports only democratic ways.

Therefore, we can aptly say that the Sword of Damocles hangs over the political dynasties in the Philippines. Their destruction is pre-programmed by the very logic that it has in itself. We just have to look at the European welfare states how they attend to the public needs now. They, too,  were once dominated by all sorts of political dynasties but with time all of them were destroyed. Destruction and Creation of new forms- the  two forces of social evolution.

In our modern language, it is simply not sustainable, this kind of political landscape,  for it doesn’t allow for growth. The dynasties in our country- busy with their self-aggrandizement politics-  don’t realize their impending doom which could be very violent. We don’t presume to know when this will definitely end in the Philippines but it has  its own timetable. An evolving society changes its structure and adopts  a form that will keep it survive as a whole. For me, this form means higher civilization.

This is Self-Aggrandizement when you travel the Philippines: you see a school building with the inscription, “A Project of President Arroyo“, a  bus waiting shed with “A Project Of Governor…”, a basketball court with “A Project Of Barangggay Captain…” , a pavilion with  “A Project Of  Mayor…”… and so on. Arroyo has for sure some projects accomplished. But there is nothing personal about them for the money used was from the people, from the taxes paid, not from her own wallet. And as a public servant, you are elected and paid to work  and do something for your country or town. Or must the people  beg for you for these things, expect them to be overly thankful when you have done something?  Only a politician who has bought all his votes behaves this way for he feels he owns the people, he owns the country, he owns the town.

So why steal the money and honor from the people? Self-aggrandizement is defined like this by our politicians: I steal people’s money, make a project out of the rest of it and then use this project to cover up my stealing  and to improve my image. This is outright deception. So people of the Philippines, people of Bulan, I understand what you feel whenever you see such personalized, privatized  public amenities. Now,  the more you see such structures or banners with such inscriptions in your town, in our country when you’re traveling, the more you know that there are lots of public thieves around you, displaying their honorable names voluntarily to insult you.

This Self-Aggrandizement (and to my view, political corruption, nepotism and dynastic politics) has its root in Aguinaldo, according to Mabini, which to him also the reason why the Philippine Revolution in 1896/98 failed. In his book  La Revolution Filipina. he wrote:

“To sum it up, the Revolution failed because it was badly led; because its leader won his post by reprehensible rather than meritorious acts; because instead of supporting the men most useful to the people, he made them useless out of jealousy. Identifying the aggrandizement of the people with his own, he judged the worth of men not by their ability, character and patriotism but rather by their degree of friendship and kinship with him; and anxious to secure the readiness of his favorites to sacrifice themselves for him, he was tolerant even of their transgressions. Because he thus neglected the people forsook him; and forsaken by the people, he was bound to fall like a waxen idol melting in the heat of adversity.God grant we do not forget such a terrible lesson, learnt at the cost of untold suffering.”

He wrote further:

“Mr. Aguinaldo believed that one can serve his country with honour and glory only from high office, and this is an error which is very dangerous to the common welfare; it is the principal cause of the civil wars which impoverish and exhaust many states and contributed greatly to the failure of the Revolution. Only he is truly a patriot who, whatever his post, high or low, tries to do the greatest possible good to his countrymen. A little good done in an humble position is a title to honour and glory, while it is a sign of negligence or incompetence when done in high office. True honour can be discerned in the simple manifestations of an upright and honest soul, not in brilliant pomp and ornament wich scarcely serve to mask the deformities of the body. True honour is attained by teaching our minds to recognize truth, and training our hearts to love it. The recognition of truth shall lead us to the recognition of our duties and of justice, and by performing our duties and doing justice we shall be respected and honoured, whatever our station in life.”

This was probably what Apolinario Mabini had in mind also – a civilized Philippines-  when he wrote these  lines at the last chapter of his book  La Revolution Filipina :

“Let us never forget that we are on the first rung of our national life, and that we are called upon to rise, and can go upward only on the ladder of virtue and heroism. Above all let us not forget that, if we do not grow, we shall have died without ever having been great, unable to reach maturity, which is proper of a degenerate race.”

 A degenerate race? Well, that’s tough.

 jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


The Final Insult To The Filipino Mind

by jun asuncion

This SONA 2009 sounds like a desperate appeal to the public of one of the most unpopular presidents of the Philippines- Gloria Arroyo- to change their perception of her for the better before she steps down the throne of power where, for years, she overstretched the meaning of political corruption in the Philippines. Aside from that, she tarnished badly the image of a woman politician in the Philippines- to the disadvantage of some promising and competent women politicians in the country like Loren Legarda.

To divert the attention of the public, she used strategically such positive words as “work”, “lead”, “protect”, and “preserve”. To qoute her: “I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want our Republic to be ready for the first world in 20 years..”

She associated her name with the memory of her father who allegedly placed the Philippines second to Japan during his time. These are all cheap psychological tricks employed to manipulate the public mind and shape their perception of her- in other words, to polish her image. This going back to history to use it to one’s advantage in face of the actual desolate situation of the country in many levels- social, political and economic- is a typical myopic perception of somebody from a political dynasty. Myopic because vested interest has always the self- or ego, or the clan if you prefer it- as point of reference, and not the all-encompasing goals set by the Philippine Constitution.

 It is this megalomanic and egocentric political system in the country that prevents it from joining the first world, a goal set by Arroyo to achieve within 20 years. This is an illusion, a wishful thinking, and should not be confused with positive thinking and visonary leadership for she did not possess this patriotistic and moral uprightness characteristic of a visonary leader like Gandhi, Mandela or Obama. An illusion leads a country to nothing. To insult the Filipino mind several times by the number of corruption scandals within her family, the high records of human rights violation and killings of investigative journalists during her administration, the high rate of emigration of Filipino nationals, the astronomic foreign debts of the country which doubled during her presidency, etc. – all attest to misgovernace and dissatisfaction of her government and to the reality of her delusion. To join the first world, the Philippines must in the first place build a stable  political base, reform the electoral process, penalize corruption practices and must have a nationalistic, democratic and morally strong national leader. I think Arroyo have missed correcting these flaws in our country and even missed correcting her own self. So this good sounding dream of joining the first world lacks sincerity, just thrown into the air to insult you and me.

When people flee, it’s never a sign of happines. When killings and corruption scandals are never solved, it’s never an indicator of democracy, social justice and functioning five pillars of justice or checks and balance system- but of strings being pulled behind to the center- the self. Economic statistics never tell the truth when used by an unpopular president whose intention is to repair her broken public image. So it’s hard to buy the figures she’s selling out here. They are designed to insult the Filipino mind.

Being an economist, she claims authority on this subject, claiming that the world finacial crisis did not ruin the Philippines as it did to other countries. The Philippines was spared of it- thanks to her economic programs- like the OFW which sends her billions of dollars annualy. Again one must exercise caution here. The world crisis was a bank crisis in the first place. The Philippines do not have giant banks that invested huge amounts outside the country- like the UBS of Switzerland where it lost billions of dollars in the US. But this involves mainly the UBS and not the whole country of Switzerland. Jobs were lost naturally, but the whole Swiss economy is as strong as before. It is mainly because of a stable social and political system- not because of its giant banks like UBS and CS. Local and foreign investments abound because of peace and political stability.

 As we all know, political stability is never a strength of the Philippines since decades  already- so don’t expect economic stability as stressed in SONA 2009 by Arroyo. Her very own administration was from the very beginning  also unstable. It is ridiculous how she stands all alone before the nation and flamboyantly cites  proofs to the rising economic wealth of the Philippines under her presidency- but immediately calls the aid of her lawyer to explain for her before a group of inquiring concerned citizens  her own remarkable growth in wealth she has accumulated up to now. Why a lawyer? Does she honestly not consider her own wealth as a direct result of the rising economy of the Philippines under her own economic programs?It’s funny how she displays her honesty.

 Here’s the latest proof of this instability and the all-pervasive odor of corruption that has engulfed her administration from the beginning till the present:


 MBC asks Arroyo to explain remarkable growth in wealth

RUBY ANNE M. RUBIO, GMANews.TV 08/14/2009 | 07:08 PM | |

 An influential business group joined the growing calls for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to explain her accumulated wealth after her net worth doubled every three years as a public servant for 16 years. In a statement, the Makati Business Club said the business community would be particularly interested in the remarkable growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s net worth when her personal wealth soared by 2,032.84 percent to P143.54 million in 2008 from P6.73 million in1992 based on a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). “Held against the light of economic reality and the First Couple’s declared assets and income sources, the impressive growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s wealth is difficult to fathom,” MBC said.

MBC noted Mrs. Arroyo’s stock portfolio grew by 41 percent per annum from P55 million in 2006 to P110 million in 2008, at a time when the Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 21 percent. “Like Caesar’s wife, the President must be above suspicion. As the highest public servant in our country and in the interest of good governance, Mrs. Arroyo must set an example by making a full and transparent accounting of her and her family’s wealth. She owes the Filipino people an explanation,” the group added.

The group lauded PCIJ for a “job well done” on its three-part series on Mrs. Arroyo’s “still-to-be-explained wealth.” “The press serves a watchdog function and, disagreeable as it may be to those who have suffered its nasty bite, we must allow the press to perform this function, without coercion or threats,” MBC said. “It now behooves the President to personally respond to the issues raised by the PCIJ article. It is unfortunate that instead of clarifying matters, the President has opted to call in her legal advisers who have tried to attack the message as well as the messenger rather than respond in any meaningful and germane manner,” it added. Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, defended the President, saying his client did not manipulate her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Macalintal has served as her lawyer in an electoral protest. “Through her lawyer, the President has stated that she stands by the ‘truth and veracity’ of her SALN, but it is difficult to accept her statement at face value if all that she has to substantiate her claim is the paltry information provided in the document and her spokespersons’ explanations that only lead to more unanswered questions,” the MBC said.

See related articles:

“RP gets poorer, Arroyo gets richer”

‘Arroyo foreign travels cost P1.6-B more’


President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo SONA 2009

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo SONA 2009 Full Text

Thank you, Speaker Nograles, Senate President Enrile, Senators, Representatives, Vice President de Castro, President Ramos, Chief Justice Puno, Ambassadors, friends…

The past twelve months have been a year for the history books. Financial meltdown in the West spread throughout the world…

Tens of millions lost their jobs; billions across the globe have been hurt—the poor always harder than the rich. No one was spared…

It has affected us already. But the story of the Philippines in 2008 is that the country weathered a succession of global crises in fuel, in food, then in finance and finally the economy in a global recession, never losing focus and with economic fundamentals intact…

A few days ago, Moody’s has just announced the upgrade of our credit rating, citing the resilience of our economy. The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics…

I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want our Republic to be ready for the first world in 20 years…

Towards that vision, we made key reforms. Our economic plan centers on putting people first. Higit sa lahat ang layunin ng ating mga patakaran ay tulungan ang masipag na karaniwang Pilipino. New tax revenues were put in place to help pay for better healthcare, more roads, a strong education system. Housing policies were designed to lift up our poorest citizens so they can live and raise a family with dignity. Ang ating mga puhunan sa agrikultura ay naglalayong kilalanin ang ating mga magsasaka bilang backbone ng ating bansa, at bigyan sila ng mga modernong kagamitan to feed our nation and feed their own family….

Had we listened to the critics of those policies, had we not braced ourselves for the crisis that came, had we taken the easy road much preferred by politicians eyeing elections, this country would be flat on its back. It would take twice the effort just to get it back again on its feet—to where we are now because we took the responsibility and paid the political price of doing the right thing. For standing with me and doing the right thing, thank you, Congress…

The strong, bitter and unpopular revenue measures of the past few years have spared our country the worst of the global financial shocks. They gave us the resources to stimulate the economy. Nabigyan nila ang pinakamalaking pagtaas ng IRA ng mga LGU na P40 billion itong taon, imparting strength throughout the country and at every level of government…

Compared to the past, we have built more and better infrastructure, including those started by others but left unfinished. The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway is a prime example of building better roads. It creates wealth as the flagship of the Subic-Clark corridor.

We have built airports of international standard, upgraded domestic airports, built seaports and the RORO system. I ask Congress for a Philippine Transport Security Authority Law….

Some say that after this SONA, it will be all politics. Sorry, but there’s more work….

Sa telecommunications naman, inatasan ko ang Telecommunications Commission na kumilos na tungkol sa mga sumbong na dropped calls at mga nawawalang load sa cellphone. We need to amend the Commonwealth-era Public Service Law. And we need to do it now….

Kung noong nakaraan, lumakas ang electronics, today we are creating wealth by developing the BPO and tourism sectors as additional engines of growth. Electronics and other manufactured exports rise and fall in accordance with the state of the world economy. But BPO remains resilient. With earnings of $6 billion and employment of 600,000, the BPO phenomenon speaks eloquently of our competitiveness and productivity. Let us have a Department of ICT….

In the last four years tourism almost doubled. It is now a $5 billion industry…

Our reforms gave us the resources to protect our people, our financial system and our economy from the worst of shocks that the best in the west failed to anticipate….

They gave us the resources to do reforms para palawakin ang suportang panlipunan and enhance spending power….For helping e raise salaries through joint resolution, thank you Congress.

Cash handouts give the most immediate relief and produce the widest stimulating effect. Nakikinabang ang 700,000 na pinakamahihirap na pamilya sa programang Pantawid Pamilya.

Our preference is to invest in projects with the same stimulus effects but also with long-term contributions to national progress….

Sa pagpapamahagi ng milyun-milyong ektaryang lupa, 700,000 na katutubo at mahigit isang milyong benepisyaryo ng CARP ay taas-noong may-ari na ng sariling lupa. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na ipasa agad ang pagpapalawig ng CARP, at dapat ma-condone ang P42 billion na land reform liabilities dahil 18% lamang ang nabayaran mula 1972. Napapanahon dahil it will unfreeze the rural property market. Ang mahal kong ama ang nag-emancipate ng mga magsasaka. Ii-mancipate naman natin ngayon ang titulo….

Nakinabang ang pitong milyong entrepreneurs sa P165 billion na microfinance. Nakinabang ang 1,000 sa economic resiliency plan. Kasama natin ngayon ang isa sa kanila, si Gigi Gabiola. Dating household service worker sa Dubai, ngayon siya ay nagtatrabaho sa DOLE. Good luck, Gigi…

Nakinabang ang isang milyong pamilya sa programang pabahay at palupa, mula sa PAG-IBIG, NHA, community mortgage program, certificates of lot awards, at saka yung inyong Loan Condonation and Restructuring Act….

Our average inflation is the lowest since 1966. Last June, it dropped to 1.5%. Paano nakamit ito? Proper policies lowered interest rates, which lowered costs to business and consumers.

Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating ibenta ang bigas NFA sa P18.25 per kilo kahit tumaas ang presyo sa labas mula P17.50 hanggang P30 dahil sa kakulangan ng supply sa mundo. Habang, sa unang pagkakataon, naitaas ang pamimili ng palay sa mga magsasaka, P17 mula sa P11…

Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating mamuhunan sa pagkain—anticipating an unexpected global food crisis. Nakagawa tayo ng libu-libong kilometro ng farm-to-market roads at kasama ng pribadong sector, natubigan ang dalawang milyong ektarya. Mga Badjao gaya ni Tarnati Dannawi ay tinuruan ng modernong mariculture. Umabot na sa P180,000 ang kinita niya mula noong nakaraang taon. Congratulations, Tarnati. We will help more fisherfolk shift to fish farming with a budget of P1 billion…

Dahi dumarami na naman daw ang pamilyang nagugutom, mamumuhunan tayo ng bago sa Hunger Mitgation program na nakitang mabisa. Tulungan nito ako dito Kongreso…

Mula noong 2001, Nanawagan tayo ng mas murang gamot. Nagbebenta na tayo ng mga gamot na kalahating presyo sa libu-libong Botika ng Bayan at Botika ng Barangay sa maraming dako ng bansa. Our efforts prodded the pharmaceutical companies to come up with low-cost generics and brands like RiteMed. I supported the tough version of the House of the Cheaper Medicine Law. I supported it over the weak version of my critics. The result: the drug companies volunteered to bring down drug prices, slashing by half the prices of 16 drugs. Thank you, Congressman Cua, Alvarez, Biron and Locsin….

Pursuant to law, I am placing other drugs under a maximum retail price. To those who want to be President, this advice: If you want something done, do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Just do it. Don’t say bad words in public.

Sa health insurance, sakop na ang 86% ng ating populasyon…

Sa Rent Control Law ng 2005 hanggang 2008, hanggang sampung porsyento lang maaaring itaas taon-taon ang upa. Iyong kakapirma nating batas naglagay ng isang taong moratorium, tapos pitong porsyento lang ang maaaring itaas. Salamat, Kongreso….

Noong isang taon, nabiyayaan ng tig-P500 ang mahigit pitong milyong tahanan bilang Katas ng Pantawid Koryente para sa mga small electricity users….

Iyong power rates, ang EPIRA natin ang pangmatagalang sagot. EPIRA dismantled monopoly. But minana natin iyong power purchase agreements under preceding administrations, so hindi pa natin makuha iyong buong intended effect. Pero happy na rin tayo, dahil isang taon na lamang iyan. The next generation will benefit from low prices from our EPIRA. Thank you…

Samantala, umabot na sa halos lahat ng barangay ang elektrisidad. We increased indigenous energy from 48% to 58%. Nakatipid tayo sa dollars tapos malaki pa ang na-reduce pa iyong oil consumption. The huge reduction in fossil fuel is the biggest proof of energy independence and environmental responsibility. Further reduction will come with the implementation of the Renewable Energy Act…and the Biofuels Act….again, thank you.

The next generation will also benefit from our lower public debt to GDP ratio. It declined from 78% in 2000 to 55% in 2008. We cut in half the debt of government corporations from 15% to 7. Likewise foreign debt from 73% to 32%. Kung meron man tayong malaking kaaway na tinalo, walang iba kundi ang utang, iyong foreign debt. Past administrations conjured the demon of foreign debt. We exorcised it….

The market grows economies. A free market, not a free-for-all…

To that end, we improved our banking system to complement its inherent conservatism. The Bangko Sentral has been prudent. Thank you, Governor Tetangco, for being so effective. The BSP will be even more effective if Congress will amend its Charter….

We worked on the Special Purpose Vehicle Act, reducing non-performing loans from 18% to 4% and improving loan-deposit ratios….

Our new Securitization Law did not encourage the recklessness that brought down giant banks and insurance companies elsewhere and laid their economies to waste. In fact, it monitors and regulates the new-fangled financial schemes. Thank you, Congress….

We will work to increase tax effort through improved collections and new sin taxes to further our capacity to reduce poverty and pursue growth. Revenue enhancement must come from the Department of Finance plugging leaks and catching tax and customs cheats. I call on tax-paying citizens and tax-paying businesses: help the BIR and Customs spot those cheats…

Taxes should come from alcohol and tobacco and not from books. Tax hazards to lungs and livers, do not tax minds. Ang kita mula sa buwis sa alak at sigarilyo ay dapat pumunta sa kalusugan at edukasyon. Sa kalusugan, pondohan ang Philhealth premiums ng pinakamahihirap. Ponhodhan ang mas maraming classroom at computers…..

Pardon my partiality for the teaching profession. I was a teacher….

Kaya namuhunan tayo ng malaki sa edukasyon at skills training….

Ang magandang edukasyon ay susi sa mas mabuting buhay, the great equalizer that allows every young Filipino a chance to realize their dreams…

Nagtayo tayo ng 95,000 na silid-aralan, nagdagdag ng 60,000 na guro, naglaan ng P1.5 billion para sa teacher training, especially for 100,000 English teachers. Isa sa pinakamahirap na Millennium Development Goals ay iyong Edukasyon para sa Lahat pagdating ng 2015, na nangunguhulugang lahat ng nasa edad ay nasa grade school. Halos walang bansang nakakatupad nito. Ngunit nagsisikap tayo. Binaba natin ang gastos ng pagpasok. Nagtayo tayo ng mga eskwela sa higit isang libong barangay na dati walang eskwelahan, upang makatipid ng gastos ng pasahe ang mga bata. Tinanggal natin ang miscellaneous fees para sa primary school.

Hindi na kailangan ang uniporme sa mga estudyante sa public schools…

We assist financially half of all students in private high schools….

We have provided 600,000 college and post-graduate scholarships. One of them Mylene Amerol-Macumbal, finished Accounting at MSU-IIT, went to law school, and placed second in the last bar exams–the first Muslim woman bar topnotcher. Congratulations…

In technical education and skills training, we have invested three times that of three previous administrations combined. Narito si Jennifer Silbor, isa sa sampung milyong trainee. Natuto siya ng medical transcription. Now, as an independent contractor and lecturer for transcriptions in Davao, kumikita siya ng P18,000 bawat buwan. Good job.

The Presidential Task Force on Education headed by Jesuit educator Father Bienvenido Nebres has come out with the Main Education Highway towards a Knowledge-Based Economy. It envisions seamless education from basic to vocational school or college….

It seeks to mainstream early childhood development in basic education. Our children are our most cherished possession. In their early years we must make sure they get a healthy start in life. They must receive the right food for a healthy body, the right education for a bright and inquiring mind—and the equal opportunity for a meaningful job….

For college admission, the Task Force recommends mandatory Scholastic Aptitude Tests. It also recommends that private higher education institutions and state universities and colleges should be harmonized. It also recommends that CHED will oversee of local universities and colleges. For professions seeking international recognition—engineering, architecture, accountancy, pharmacy and physical therapy—it recommends radical reform: 10 years of basic education, two years of pre-university, three years of university…

Our educational system should make the Filipino fit not just for whatever jobs happen to be on offer today, but also for whatever economic challenge life will throw in their way….

Sa hirap at ginhawa, ang ating overseas Filipinos ay pinapatatag ang ating bansa. Iyong padala nilang $16 billion noong isang taon ay record. Itong taon, mas mataas pa….

I know that this is not a sacrifice joyfully borne. This is work where it can be found—in faraway places, among strangers with different cultures. It is lonely work, it is very hard work….

Kaya nagsisikap tayong lumikha ng mga trabahong maganda ang bayad dito sa atin so that overseas work will just be a career choice, not the only option for a hardworking Filipino in search of a better life…

Meanwhile, we should make their sacrifices worthwhile. Dapat gumawa tayo ng mga mas malakas na paraan upang proteksyonan at palawak ang halaga ng kanilang pinagsikapang sweldo. That means stronger consumer protection for OFWs investing in property and products back home. Para sa kanila, pinapakilos natin ang Investors Protection Task Force….

Hindi ako nag-aatubiling bisitahin ang ating taong bayan at ang kanilang mga hosts sa buong mundo – mula Hapon…hanggang Brazil, mula Europa at Middle East hanggang sa American Midwest, nakikinig sa kanilang mga problema at pangangailangan, inaalam kung paano matulungan sila n gating pamahalaan—-by working out better policies on migrant labor, or by saving lives and restoring liberty….

Pagpunta ko sa Saudi, pinatawad ni Haring Abdullah ang pitong daang OFW na nasa preso. Pinuno nila ang isang buong eroplano at umuwi kasama ko….

Mula sa ating State Visit to Spain, it has become our biggest European donor. At si Haring Juan Carlos ay nakikipag-usap sa ibang mga bansa para sa ating mga namomoblemang OFW. Ganoon di si Sheikh Khalifa, ang Prime Minister ng Bahrain….

Pagpunta ko sa Kuwait, Emir al-Sabah commuted death sentences. For overseas workers, maraming salamat.

Our vigorous international engagement has helped bring in foreign investment. Net foreign direct investments multiplied 15 times during our administration.

Kasama ng ating mga Together with our OFWs, they more than doubled our foreign exchange reserves. Pinalakas ang ating piso at naiwasan ang lubhang pagtaasng presyo. They upgraded our credit because our reserves grew by $3 billion while those of our peers have shrunk…..

Our international engagement has also corrected historical injustice. The day we visited Washington, Senator Daniel Inouye successfully sponsored benefits for our veterans as part of America’s fiscal stimulus package…

I have accepted the invitation of President Obama to be the first Southeast Asian leader to meet him at the White House, this week…

That he sought us the Philippines testifies to our strong and deep ties…

High on our agenda will be peace and security issues. Terrorism: how to meet it, how to end it, how to address its roots in injustice and prejudice—and most and always how to protect lives…

We will also discuss nuclear non-proliferation. The Philippines will chair the review of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation Treaty in New York in May 2010. The success of the talks will be a major diplomatic achievement for us….

There is a range of other issues we will discuss, including the global challenge of climate change, especially the threat to countries with long coastlines. And there is the global recession, its worse impact on poor people, and the options that can spare them from the worst.

In 2008 up to the first quarter of 2009 we stood among only a few economies in Asia-Pacific that did not shrink. Compare this in 2001, when some of my current critics were driven out by people power, Asia was then surging but our country was on the brink of bankruptcy…

Since then, our economy has posted uninterrupted growth for 33 quarters; more than doubled its size from $76 billion to $186 billion. The average GDP growth from 2001 to the first quarter of 2009 is the highest in 43 years.

Bumaba ang bilang ng nagsasabing mahihirap sila, mula 59% sa 47%. Kahit na lumaki ang ating populasyon, nabawasan ng dalawang milyon ang bilang ng mahihirap. GNP per capita rose from a Third World $967 to $2,051. Lumikha tayo ng walong milyong trabaho, an average of a million per year, much, much more than at any other time…

In sum:

We have a strong economy in a strong fiscal position to withstand political shocks…

We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones.

The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before…

We are building a sound base for the next generation…

International authorities have taken notice that we are safer from environmental degradation and man-made disasters…

As a country in the path of typhoons and in the Pacific Rim of Fire, we must be as prepared as the latest technology permits to anticipate natural calamities when that is possible; to extend immediate and effective relief when it is not….The mapping of flood- and landslide-prone areas is almost complete. Early warning, forecasting and monitoring systems have been improved, with weather tracking facilities in Subic, Tagaytay, Mactan, Mindanao, Pampanga…

We have worked on flood control infrastructure like those for Pinatubo, Agno, Laoag, and Abucay, which will pump the run off waters from Quezon City and Tondo flooding Sampaloc. This will help relieve hundreds of hectares in this old city of its age-old woe…

Patuloy naman iyong sa Camanava, dagdag sa Pinatubo, Iloilo, Pasig-Marikina, Bicol River Basin, at mga river basin ng Mindanao…

The victims of typhoon Frank in Panay should receive their long-overdue assistance package. I ask Congress to pass the SNITS Law…

Namana natin ang pinakamatagal ng rebelyon ng Komunista sa buong mundo.

Si Leah de la Cruz isa sa labindalawang libong rebel returnee. Sixteen pa lang siya nang sumali sa NPA. Naging kasapi sa regional White Area Committee, napromote sa Leyte Party Committee Secretary. Nahuli noong 2006. She is now involved in an LGU-supported handicraft livelihood training of former rebels. We love you, Leah!

There is now a good prospect for peace talks both with both the Communist Party of the Philippines and the MILF, with whom we are now on ceasefire….

We inherited an age-old conflict in Mindanao, exacerbated by a politically popular but near-sighted policy of massive retaliation. This only provoked the other side to continue the war…

In these two internal conflicts, ang tanong ay hindi, “Sino ang mananalo?” kundi, bakit ba kailangang mag-away ang kapwa Pilipino tungkol sa mga isyu na alam ng dalawang panig over issues na malulutas naman sa paraang demokratiko.

There is nothing more that I would wish for than peace in Mindanao. It will be a blessing for all its people, Muslim, Christian and lumads. It will show other religiously divided communities that there can be common ground on which to live together in peace, harmony and cooperation that respects each other’s religious beliefs…

At sa lahat ng dako ng bansa, kailangan nating protektahan an gating mamamayan kontra sa krimen — in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their communities.

How shall crime be fought? Through the five pillars of justice. We call on Congress to fund more policemen on the streets…

Real government is about looking beyond the vested to the national interest, setting up the necessary conditions to enable the next, more enabled and more empowered generation to achieve a country as prosperous, a people as content, as ours deserve to be….

The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.

As the process of fundamental political reform begins, let us address the highest exercise of democracy…voting!

In 2001, I said we would finance fully automated elections. We got it, thanks to Congress…

At the end of this speech I shall step down from this stage…but not from the Presidency. My term does not end until next year. Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino. The nation comes first. There is much to do as head of state—to the very last day…

A year is a long time. Patuloy ang pamumuhunan sa tinatawag na three E’s ng ekonomiya, environment at edukasyon. There are many perils that we must still guard against…

A man-made calamity is already upon us, global in scale. As I said earlier, so far we have been spared its worst effects but we cannot be complacent. We only know that we have generated more resources on which to draw, and thereby created options we could take. Thank God we did not let our critics stop us…

As the campaign unfolds and the candidates take to the airwaves, I ask them to talk more about how they will build up the nation rather than tear down their opponents. Our candidates must understand the complexities of our government and what it takes to move the country forward. Give the electorate real choices and not just sweet talk…

Meanwhile, I will keep a steady hand on the tiller, keeping the ship of state away from the shallows some prefer, and steering it straight on the course I set in 2001…

Ang ating taong bayan ay masipag at maka-Diyos. These qualities are epitomized in someone like Manny Pacquiao….Manny trained tirelessly, by the book, with iron discipline, with the certain knowledge that he had to fight himself, his weaknesses first, before he could beat his opponent. That was the way to clinch his victories and his ultimate title: ang pinakadakilang boksingero sa kasaysayan………. Mabuhay ka, Manny!

However much a President wishes it, a national problem cannot be knocked out with a single punch. A President must work with the problem as much as against it, and turn it into a solution if I can…

There isn’t a day I do not work at my job or a waking moment when I do not think through a work-related problem. Even my critics cannot begrudge the long hours I put in. Our people deserve-a-government that works just as hard as they do…

A President must be on the job 24/7, ready for any contingency, any crisis, anywhere, anytime…

Everything right can be undone by even a single wrong. Every step forward must be taken in the teeth of political pressures and economic constraints that could push you two steps back-if-you flinch and falter.. I have not flinched, I have not faltered. Hindi ako umaatras sa hamon…

And I have never done any of the things that have scared my worst critics so much. They are frightened by their own shadows…

In the face of attempted coups, I issued emergency proclamations just in case. But I was able to resolve these military crises with the ordinary powers of my office. My critics call it dictatorship. I call it determination… We know it as strong government…

But I never declared martial law, though they are running scared as if I did. In truth, what they are really afraid of is their weakness in the face of this self-imagined threat…

I say to them: do not tell us what we all know, that democracy can be threatened. Tell us what you will do when it is attacked…

I know what to do:

I know what to do, as I have shown, I will defend democracy with arms when it is threatened by violence; with firmness when it is weakened by division; with law and order where it is subverted by anarchy; and always, I will try to sustain it by wise policies of economic progress, so that a democracy means not just an empty liberty but a full life for all…

I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term. Many of those who accuse me of it tried to cling like nails to their posts…

I am accused of misgovernance. Many of those who accuse me of it left me the problem of their misgovernance to solve. And we did it…

I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my office for personal profit. Many of those who accuse me of it have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime…

We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves…

Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there…

Our administration, with the highest average rate of growth, recording multiple increases in investments, with the largest job creation in history, and which gets a credit upgrade at the height of a world recession, must be doing something right, even if some of those cocooned in corporate privilege refuse to recognize it…

Governance, however, is not about looking back and getting even. It is about looking forward and giving more—to the people who gave us the greatest, hardest gift of all: the care of a country.

From Bonifacio at Balintawak to Cory Aquino at EDSA and up to today, we have struggled to bring power to the people, and this country to the eminence it deserves…

Today the Philippines is weathering well the storm that is raging around the world. It is growing stronger with the challenge. When the weather clears, as it will, there is no telling how much farther forward it can go. Believe in it. I believe…

We can and we must-march-forward-with-hope, optimism and determination.

We must come together, work together and walk together toward the future.

Bagamat malaking hamon ang nasa ating harapan, nasa kamay natin ang malaking kakayahan. Halina’t pagtulungan nating tiyakin ang karapat-dapat na kinabukasan ng ating Inang Bayan.

And to the people of our good country, for allowing me to serve as your President, maraming salamat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!


LGU Bulan Joins the Earth Hour Movement

Submitted on 2009/03/26 at 8:37am
 By: PIO-LGU Bulan

Bulan, Sorsogon, March 26, 2009.


 Bulan Town in the Province of Sorsogon, in the Philippines is joining the Earth Hour movement!

Mayor Helen C. De Castro of the Local Government Unit of Bulan leads her community in joining the Earth Hour event on March 28, 2009 from 8:30-9:30 in the evening of Saturday.

In her communications sent to all sectors of the Bulaneno Community – the media, youth, business, labor, religious and academic sectors – Mayor De Castro is exhorting every Bulaneno, young and old alike, to wholeheartedly join and support this event by sacrificing one hour on the evening of March 28 by switching off their lights, electricity, the use of cell phones and the internet.

The three local radio stations -One FM, Veritas FM, and Padaba FM are now airing her taped Earth Hour message every two hours until March 28. These stations will have a countdown to the Earth Hour.

The local cable station, BSTV, is now airing a round-the-clock environment film showing featuring the Earth Hour, the Panahon Na! presentation on Climate Change and the Bulan Environment Program until the Earth Hour event.

The local parish church will be pealing the church bells as a countdown to Earth Hour and will be ringing the bells ten times every tenth minute until the Earth Hour is concluded. The local fire department will sound its sirens to signal the start of the Earth Hour.

One innovation started by Mayor De Castro is that since this is school graduation and closing season, all schools, even after the Earth Hour on March 28, will shut off their lights ten minutes before the start of their graduation ceremonies, as a show of solidarity to the Earth Hour movement-and they will hold numbers to dramatize concern for the environment.

A Texters’ Brigade has been organized to send “Pass an Earth Hour message” to friends and texters around.

In its own little way, the Bulan Community is one with the world in helping Mother Earth.

In the Province of Sorsogon, Bulan Town has been in the forefront of protecting and preserving the Environment. In 2008, Bulan Town was declared a DILG GO FAR Model Town for Solid Waste Management in the whole country. The Local Government Unit also conducts an annual Feast of the Mountains every first Saturday of October and has converted its dumpsite into an ecological park.  (PIO)


The Woman Warrior Of The Philippines

by: jun asuncion


It’s astonishing that Senator Loren Legarda and Jing Magsaysay still manage to write me personally in spite of their very tight schedules. These are small gestures that tell  a lot about the character and professionalism of these two super busy people. That in spite of Loren being a national and international figure, her no non-sense legislative duties, her works for her environmental and educational foundations, all the representations that she does, the many visits to her constituents across the country and the many invitations she’s receiving from them and- last but not least-  her children who also occupy a great portion of her time, she still has the time to swift scan Bulan Observer and even write her replies personally. A big honor, indeed.

This tells us that sincerity is part of her natural character, her strength manifesting  in each single action she does which ultimately has carried her up to where she is now. Sincerity is earnestness, seriousness in intent and purpose. In German it is called Aufrichtigkeit, a word which also connotes straightforwardness, singleheartedness and veracity. Aufrichtigkeit is one of the the seven virtues of Bushido- The Way Of  The Warrior- a Samurai code which also emphasizes frugality(simplicity), loyalty and honour- and martial arts mastery. 

A warrior? Little is known of the fact that Senator Loren Legarda, while working as a broadcast journalist, “obtained a master’s degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines, where she emerged as topnotcher (NDCP awarded her gold medals for Academic Excellence and Best Thesis) and where she was the youngest in the class. She is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserve Corps!” A woman warrior, not in a violent sense, but in a progressive moral sense. And a high-performance senator.

I thank Loren and Jing for their support for our little efforts here in Bulan Observer and wish them more power in their daily fight for progress.

Here are some little concrete samples attesting to their professionalism, earnestness and Aufrichtigkeit of character:

-Re: Thank you for your works and visions! Wednesday, February 11, 2009 11:21 AM
From:  “Jing Magsaysay”
jingmag@yahoo.com  To: junasun05@yahoo.com, loren_b_legarda@yahoo.com.ph

Greetings Jun,

Please tell us which photos you would want to use so we can send you HiRes versions of the photos.


Jing Magsaysay


On Wed, 2/11/09, Loren Legarda <loren_b_legarda@yahoo.com.ph> wrote:

From: Loren Legarda <loren_b_legarda@yahoo.com.ph>
Subject: Re: Thank you for your works and visions!
To: junasun05@yahoo.com
Cc: “jing magsaysay” <jingmag@yahoo.com>, “honeyrose mercado” <hnyrosemercado@yahoo.com>
Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 2:13 PM

Dear Jun:

 I am endorsing your concerns and propositions to my staff, namely, my press relations head Jing Magsaysay, and Luntiang Pilipinas in-charge of day-to-day activities Honey Rose Mercado, whose respective emails are indicated in this letter. You may directly coordinate with them.

Thank you for your support.



From: Loren Legarda <loren_b_legarda@yahoo.com.ph>
Subject: Re: Thank you for your works and visions!
To: junasun05@yahoo.com
Date: Saturday, January 31, 2009, 1:04 AM

Dear Jun:

Thank you for your enlightening words of encouragement. There is really hope in the Filipino. Together, we must give our share in our moral crusade.

Best regards,



Loren Legarda: Avenue Of Green Trees, Poetry And Dreams

by: jun asuncion                                                                           



Loren Legarda, Joyce Kilmer and The Sniper – What connects them together? It’s their love or need for trees.

loren1Loren Legarda, a  Filipina senator. Loren’s love for trees is known,  a love which manifested itself early in childhood. She claims to have had a happy childhood “climbing trees and playing jackstones” in that Malabon compound where she grew up. She took this love for the trees with her all her life. Last year,  her “Luntiang Pilipinas” (Green Philippines), the urban forestry program founded by Loren which has already planted millions of trees across the Philippines, celebrated its 10th Anniversary launching at the same time the 10 million trees campaign. It’s a plus for all of us Filipinos, for nature and for  the other species dependent on trees. Indeed, it’s much more pleasant to imagine to have 10 million trees more, than to have 10 million trees less in the few years to come.






kilmer_joyceJoyce Kilmer, an American writer, poet and soldier, a man from another place and time. He was born on December 6, 1886 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Joyce Kilmer wrote the famous poem  “Trees” on February 2, 1913, in the Kilmer home in Mahwah, New Jersey. Every pupil on earth taking up American literature  knows this poem- or has to memorize this poem at one point in his elementary years. Let’s visit this poem again: 


                  –  Trees –

   I think that I shall never see
   A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.




sniperThe Unknown, a German sniper.

He, too, was sent to France probably the same year as Kilmer. The training of a sniper was hard and demanded precision in all kinds of situations. Imperial Germany was the first to use snipers in war and they were dreaded by their enemies for their deadliness and efficiency because of their training and their high-quality manufactured scope lenses mounted on their equally high quality rifles. Yet snipers were taught not only to pick off their targets but above all to respect and be one with the environment that conceals them, with the stones, grass, vines and green trees.


 A Filipina legislator between an American Poet and a German Sniper. Three for the road, three kinds of trade, three nationalities that met in the avenue of green trees, poetry and dreams.

The End. The poet and soldier Kilmer fought for the United States during the First World War against Germany and was killed in France on July 30, 1918 at the age of 31-  by this  unknown German sniper who probably was himself on a tree or beside it when his scope spotted the scouting Kilmer somewhere  on a hill. His bullet pierced through Kilmer’s soft, poetic head, killing him instantly.

“It was a dirty way to die!
To put a bullet through your head
And make a silly woman cry!”

The irony of fate never dies. These lines above were authored also by Kilmer before he went to war, from his poem “To a Young Poet Who Killed Himself”. Time  and space transcending, this German sniper would have  cried out himself:

“It was a dirty way to kill!
To shoot a bullet through your head,
Oh, poor poet Kilmer.
And make a woman senator cry!”

Three events in history, three people doing their duty- and a love that connects them, the love for the tree. The poet Kilmer immortalized the tree with his poem, and if the target in his scope shared his love or need for the trees, that German sniper had no way of knowing it. He was  just doing his duty.

The Beginning. And so is Loren until now, just doing her duty as she keeps on planting trees. For her, it’s a sacred duty, a homage to that old love for the trees in Malabon compound that gave her coolness and shades during those hot summer vacation days, trees that she climbed and in whose bosom she perhaps dreamed of the possibilities that life would offer her once she gets to Manila to study- and to work.

Dreams came true but this was no reason to stop working for long ago she was saddened by the fact that Kilmer’s Trees were disappearing, landslides and floods were taking the lives of farmers and that  the global warming has now come to take its toll.

But now is no time for tears but is high time to act,  to resort to the power of the pen by writing legislation and to take up the shovel and help plant trees. Loren authored a number of legislation including those for our environment which have been passed into laws and her Luntiang Pilipinashas been building urban parks for years already. As she admits, her greening campaign is not aimed at competing the tree planting program by other organizations from other sectors or the annually held Arbor Day but to supplement them by focusing on restoring green in cities and municipalities by developing Forest Parks and planting trees along roadsides.

Sincerity is seen in the constancy of action over long period of time, a moral value that is scarce in a ningas-cogon infested political landscape. We all know that politics is never an easy arena in the Philippines and it is virtually impossible, if not naive, to expect to find a spotless, angelic public servant. For no matter how a politician tries to stay honestly to his belief and good principles, there are just moments in a politician’s life where principles and values collide with each other, where one has to make compromises even between two or more good arguments that seem to contradict each other at a given point in time and situation. But what counts is that the politician stays by his  duty and good intentions for his constituents- which he cannot always please- and that he  is aware that he is sacrificing a good principle for a more higher one. This is not always easy to explain to the conditioned public mind. For man’s perception of things around him is greatly influenced by the past and current events and that man even tends to re-interpret the past differently depending on the current events, also the reason behind why Luntiang Pilipinas is becoming more and more of a necessity than just a style and why Kilmer’s poem- which turned ninety-six years old this month-  is gaining popularity again because of current destruction of trees and the life threatening effects of global warming.

Be that as it may, today’s Filipinos should free their mind from the myriad of trivial things that divert it from the most essential in Philippine politics. Our judgment should never be based upon trivialities that we hear and see that only muddle our mind but on the essence and substance of a political argument or result. Loren’s legislative achievements, the laws and pending  Bills which she authored for us and her staunch engagement to ecological preservation and restoration are solid facts that attest to the essence and substance of this lady senator. These facts should simply guide our judgement when we contemplate about our future.

                               logo12                logo8                logo9   

 Bulan Observer


Note: Official photos provided to Bulan Observer by Senator Loren  Legarda through her press relations head Jing Magsaysay. / jun asuncion


  For The Record:


Loren seeks Senate probe on relief aid for Bicol folk.

Publication: Manila Bulletin
Date: Sunday, August 12 2007
Senator Loren Legarda said the other day she would call for a Senate investigation into complaints by Bicol victims of last year’s disastrous typhoons and floods that the foreign relief assistance intended for them had not been sufficiently distributed.
Loren was reacting to an interview
over radio DWAR in which she was asked to react to the report of Bicol Bishop Lucilo Quiambao that many victims of the previous year’s typhoons and floods in Bicol had complained that foreign and local relief assistance intended for them did not reach them.
“I think this calls for a Senate investigation,” Loren said.
In the same interview, Loren also urged the government and civil society to step up the program of reforestation and dredging of rivers to prevent floods that cost heavy damage to lives and properties during the rainy season.
Loren said that more trees should be planted in urban and rural areas, as well as in deforested localities, to control floods during the rainy season.
She also declared that the national and local governments, as well as the barangays, should conduct sustained and intensified efforts to clean canals, rivers and other waterways of garbage and other debris so as to enable rainwater to flow smoothly.
Loren said she would intensify the activities of her Luntiang Filipinas (Green Philippines) Foundation which has already planted two million trees throughout the country to improve the environment and prevent floods.
Informed about complaints by Bicolresidents that millions of pesos in foreign and local financial assistance given to them in connection with last year’s disastrous floods have not reached them in adequate amounts, Loren agreed that there is indeed need for a Senate investigation on the matter.
Loren said that the Department of Welfare and Social Development and other government relief agencies should see to it that relief assistance to victims of typhoons, earthquakes and other natural or man-made calamities should be fully and immediately given the victims to accomplish the desired relief.
“I think Congress should pass legislation that would ensure that disaster and emergency relief aid should be totally and properly distributed to calamity victims by providing for penalties for fraud and negligence in the distribution of relief goods,” Loren explained.
Asked to react about the latest survey finding of Pulse Asia that she was the “most trusted” public figure in the Philippines, Loren declared that she was indeed thankful to the people for giving her this distinction. “I consider this a great responsibility and a further obligation to work harder for the good of our people in order to fulfill their expectations,” Loren told radio station DZAR.
Informed that the survey could encourage moves to make her run for president in 2010, Loren said that she is not at present thinking of the presidential elections.


7  of 30 measures passed by Senate penned by Loren                                                                      


Sen. Loren Legarda authored seven of the 30 bills that had been passed on third reading by the Senate, just one year into the 14th Congress.
“I’m inspired and elated considering the number of my colleagues who are all pushing for the passage of their respective pet bills,” said Legarda.

She stressed that the passage of her bills and the veritable adoption by the House of bills for which she had filed counterpart measures at the Senate are motivating her to work doubly hard.

“It’s work, work, work for me, in and out of the Senate session halls. If it’s not physically impossible, I’d like to be a 24/7 senator since there’s no end to what we can do, in and out of the Senate, to fight poverty and improve the quality of life of our people,” Legarda said.

Legarda is also an environmental advocate, being the chair and founder of Luntiang Pilipinas. Likewise, she’s been working to alleviate poverty, improve education, and push women’s health and empowerment through foundations she had established.

Her seven bills that had been passed by the Senate are the Batas Kasambahay Act, the Cheaper Medicines Act, Environmental Awareness through Education Act, Decriminalizing Vagrancy, Strengthening and Expanding the Special Program for the Employment of Students, the Pre-Need Code, and Act Lowering the Amusement Tax on the Film Industry.

Of the 52 bills passed on third reading by the House, seven have Senate counterparts that Legarda also authored.

Theseare House Bill 375 or the Billion Trees Act, HB 3293 on amendments to the Bureau of Food and Drugs Act, HB 4114 amending the Provincial Water Utilities Act, HB 4253 creating the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, HB 3956 or the Career Executive System Act, HB 4193 or the Renewable Energy Act, and HB 1387 creating the Disabilities Affairs Office.


RP’s Sen. Loren Legarda: The first to be appointed “Champion” for disaster risk reduction
December 2, 20086:44 pm by pna
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec. 2 – The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) secretariat has appointed Senator Loren Legarda of the Philippines as the first “champion” for disaster risk reduction.
The is the first time UNISDR, the UN body which promotes disaster prevention, is engaging a high level parliamentarian to champion and support its advocacy work.

UNISDR Director Salvano Bricenoannounced the appointment at a news conference in conjunction with the Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which began here today at the Putra World Trade Centre.

Speaking to reporters, Legarda said, the appointment would inspire her to work harder.

“There is no more fitting time to say that reducing disaster risks is a moral imperative, a social responsibility, than in these times of growing vulnerabilities and persistent poverty and suffering caused by disasters,” she said.

She said now was the time to translate political commitment into concrete actions at national and local government levels, as countries were still far from achieving the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action.

Legarda, a former broadcast journalist, among other things, founded the “Luntiang Pilipinas” (Green Philippines) in 1998 to promote public awareness on various issues concerning the environment and had also received the Philippines’ Ten Outstanding Young Men and Women Award.

More recently, in October this year, Legarda, together with UNISDR, convened the first consultative meeting with parliamentarians on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Manila.

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. (PNA/Bernama)


People urged to remain vigilant on Cha-cha drive

Sen. Loren Legarda called on the people yesterday to be vigilant in discerning the true intentions of those pushing to amend the Constitution.
Legarda said Filipinos have reason to be wary that the government may be floating the idea of Charter change anew to extend the term of the present administration.

She lauded the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines led by its president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, for taking a stand against tampering with the organic law of the land to serve ulterior motives.

“Charter change per seis not bad, but because of the seeming underhanded intention of the government, people are left wondering why Charter change is being pushed,” Senator Legarda said.

The senator was among the first to question the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Ancestral Domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). She said the Arroyo administration may have seen it as an opportunity to revive the call for Charter change when constitutional issues were raised on certain provisions in the MoA.

“Now that the MoA is scheduled for a thorough review, there is no apparent necessity to revive the call for Charter change at this time” Legarda said.


Manila Bulletin Online

Loren wins Indian environmental award

Former senator Loren Legarda will be conferred the prestigious Global Award in the Field of the Environmentby the Priyadarshni Academy of India during its 20th anniversary celebration at the Hotel Oberoi Towers in Mumbai, India on Sept. 19.
Listed in 2001 in the Global 500 Honor Roll of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Legarda was recognized by the Indian organization for leading a successful environmental conservation program and helping craft Philippine conservation laws while serving as senator.

“It affords us great pleasure to inform you that the Priyadarshni Academy has decided to confer upon you its prestigious Global Award,” said academy chairman Nanik Rupani and Global Awards advisory committee chairman Dr. Ram Tarneja in their letter to Legarda.

“The Academy�s awards function is an opportunity for us to accord acknowledgment and felicitate outstanding achievements of distinguished individuals in their respective disciplines like literature, fine arts, athletics, environment protection, science and technology and such endeavors that promote social welfare and contribute to national and global development,” they said.

Legarda would be joining the ranks of Priyadarshni honorees like Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri, former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, Sir Adrian Cadbury of Cadbury Schweppes, and Sharp Corp. Japan President Katsuhiko Machida, among others.

The academy is a sociocultural organization founded in 1985 to promote internal relations, national integration and brotherhood, adult and children�s literacy, nutrition, and care for the handicapped and to raise awareness about drug addiction and diseases like AIDS.

Like the UNEP, the Priyadarshni Academy has decided to make Legarda its honoree for the protection of the environment for her highly successful environmental campaign that includes planting over a million trees all over the country through her Luntiang Pilipinas Foundation.

She was also cited for her active participation in the enactment of significant environmental legislation like the Philippine Clean Air Act (RA 8479), Mt. Kitanglad Protected Area Act (RA8978), Batanes Protected Area Act (RA 8991), and the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003).

Among her priority measures when she was a senator were the Clean Water Bill, Sustainable Forest Management Act, and the National Landmarks Conservation Act.



Loren tops Pulse Asia survey on RP’s most trusted public figures

Senatorial candidate Loren Legarda, a consistent survey topnotcher, is also the most trusted public figure in the country, according to the latest Pulse Asia nationwide poll conducted from April 21 to 25.
The Genuine Opposition candidate garnered 65 percent of the votes of 1,800 respondents.

Legarda is followed by Senator Manny Villar, 57 percent; Representative Francis Escudero 54 percent; Senator Francis Pangilinan, 52 percent; Representative Noynoy Aquino, 51 percent; Senator Panfilo Lacson, 50 percent; Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, 48 percent; Senator Edgardo Angara, 48 percent; Senator Mar Roxas, 47 percent; and Senator Joker Arroyo, 44 percent.

“I am honored by this survey result as it is not easy to earn someone’s trust, much more the trust of the entire nation,” Legarda said.

Like Legarda, Villar, Escudero, Aquino, Lacson and Cayetano are running under the opposition slate.

The former senator also topped the Pulse Asia survey held on the same dates getting a 59.6 percent acceptance rating.

In the same trust rating survey, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo only got 26 percent while former President Fidel V. Ramos was two points lower with 24 percent.

On the other hand, former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada got 42 percent, and 38 percent respectively.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) scored 32 percent, but Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. got a measly 18 percent.

The election watchdog National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) got 33%.

Independent senatorial candidate former Senator Gringo Honasan and 1990 bar topnotcher Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III have trust ratings of 43% and 39%, respectivel

For more Facts about Senator Legarda, please click here  for the Archives of Manila Bulletin Online

or here  for the Senate Press Release Archives.

 …………………………………..  End  …………………………..

Arroyo’s AO 255: The Last Insult To The Filipino Mind


Chiz Escudero seems to be reading Bulan Observer for now he just dared President Arroyo to “show sincerity in her moral renewal campaign”, this just after I have posted Strengths And Weaknesses Of  The Filipino Political Character where I used the concept of sincerity as the foundation of a sustainable political culture. Yet,  kidding aside, such a simple concept as sincerity can make a big world of difference to the status of a nation. This is the very reason why the Philippines is not Switzerland – it’s because of the lack of sincerity among our heads of states. Take away sincerity among the Swiss politicians and you’ll get a poor and languishing Switzerland, perhaps poorer than the Philippines because its geography is poor, just piles of gigantic rocks and ice.  No matter how  the Philippines islands abound with natural wealth, poverty is everywhere when leaders are not sincere,  though one thing  is sure to abound: corruption.

But Eduardo Ermita declares that corruption is unknown in Malacanang, suggesting that his president is a very sincere public official when he points out that, “There’s no question whatsoever that President Arroyo has the highest moral standard to make a call on moral recovery” being elected president and head of some 89 million Filipinos.

Again, such statement can only come from the logic of greed – that’s why the distortion of facts. First, Arroyo achieved the highest ascendancy of power by electoral fraud  and vote buying, not by having the highest  ascendancy of moral standard during and after the election. The end does not always justify the means. She partly bought herself to power ( ask Joc-Joc Bolante for details) and partly “called”  herself to power (call Garci also for details). Second, becoming a president by whatever means does not automatically put you into the highest ascendancy of moral standard, you  have to work for it once in office and in case of Mrs. Arroyo she should have instructed her husband Mr. Arroyo to stay away from Broadband and World bank projects and other frauds.  An Abbu Sayyaf rebel, were he to become president would not automatically remove the terrorist in him. Third, she’s head only to those who elected her legally and out of free will and choice but certainly not the head to all the other Filipinos who

  • elected her not by by free choice,
  • did not exist or once existed before 2004 but dead since then ( but whose names appeared on the list of voters)
  • and to those who did not elect her at all.

Ermita is good at reminding us that there are now 89 million Filipinos, but his logic of greed would want us to believe his shallow  trick again with this figure by associating it with  calculated subtlety the pleasant adjectives “elected” and “head of state”, suggesting to our subconscious the  mandate of 89 million Filipinos to Arroyo. What a head is this Ermita. I guess, he attended some lectures in general psychology, if not, a magician school somewhere in Quiapo. Without Arroyo, he might have been a successful executive magician by now. Again, be that as it may, I hope the Ifugaos, Igorots, Tausugs, Samals and all the other national minorities, the MILF including  Abbu Sayaf and his people, the  communist NPA and the opposition sector, the many OFW’s, the missing student and union leaders and journalists, those millions of jobless, those parents and relatives of the victims of extra-judicial killings, the Smoky Mountain people, those  living families housing in cemeteries, those children in prisons or children working in mines and all the sex workers  were also included in this 89 million Filipinos who- as Mr. Ermita claims- consider Mrs. Arroyo as their head. Again, what a head.

In summary, the 2004 election was not an affirmation of Arroyo’s moral ascendancy, as Ermita claims, but a negation thereof.

Do you consider somebody your president even if you did not elect her? Perhaps a good performance would change your mind, but in Arroyo’s case the Philippines plummeted into abysmal depths of corruption scandals and human rights violations, rated very low internationally in all categories, so I don’t think you would change your mind. It’s  not only too late, but your trust is simply not there. And she is not being sincere. And without sincerity, how would she lead a moral renewal program-  and all that  in the last minutes? She reminds me of Jose De Venezia whose logic is familiar to us; he also called for a last minute- moral revolution.

Arroyo implemented last January 30 the Administrative Order 255 (AO 255) “directing the heads of the executive departments to lead moral renewal in their agencies”. Again, a tricky order for if you examine it closely, this is an empty order for the agencies for it doesn’t hit the core of the issue- i.e., the whereabouts of the stolen money or money to be stolen in the future. But this maybe is  substantial for her own interests in connection with the corruption charges facing her husband. Empty for it doesn’t provide solid legal  mechanisms that could help investigators in the corruption hearings  in the senate to-date and in the future. All in all, this AO 255 sounds fairly similar to a Sunday sermon that people listen to but forget the next moment.

Escudero countered and showed more substance when he –  in conjunction with this AO 255- dared Arroyo to “show her sincerity by endorsing the passage of SB No. 1746, which aims to exempt government officials from the Bank Secrecy Act, and SB No. 1242 that seeks to penalize influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government.”

That’s what has been lacking in this administration,- substance,  a substance that would have assured each Filipino family three square meals a day and send their children to  school and find employment. We know that Arroyo neglected our educational system, sacrificed national interests for her own private interests, that her administration has practically squeezed out everything that is positive in the Filipino and stripped the country of its remaining decent clothing before the world. Now, she wants to make up for everything by calling for a moral renewal, which is the last-  we hope – of her series of  insults to the Filipino mind. For her dance with Cha-Cha we know that she has no more chance and barely the time that should hold her calculating, capricious mind.

 Hence, it is propitious that we have vigilant young senators like Escudero, Lacson and Legarda that serve as our windbreak from the typhoons that come from Malacañang that have  for years blown the Filipino spirit to apathy and catapulted millions of citizens out of the country. We have to respect these young senators, judge them not according to some trivial issues, but to the substance of their legislative works and political arguments.


 jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


—————-Related News———————————-

Senate Press Release

February 18, 2009

Show sincerity in moral renewal drive
Chiz dares Arroyo to back 2 anti-corruption measures

Senator Chiz Escudero on Wednesday dared President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to show sincerity in her “moral renewal” campaign by backing two anti-corruption bills seeking the exemption of government officials from the Bank Secrecy Law and imposing penalties on influence peddlers in government.

He made the call after Arroyo ordered Cabinet officials to lead a “moral renewal” campaign following the latest allegations of corruption involving the First Gentleman and other former solons and officials of her administration. “A legacy of corruption is the last thing you want the public to remember you by when you step down from office,” he said in a statement.

Escudero said Arroyo can show her sincerity by endorsing the passage of SB No. 1746, which aims to exempt government officials from the Bank Secrecy Act, and SB No. 1242 that seeks to penalize influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government.

He pointed out that the allegations of bid-rigging in the World Bank road-building project, as well as the purported payoffs in the case of the “Alabang Boys”, requires immediate, strong corrective responses from government.

“The law should not be a refuge of scoundrels posing as public servants,” said Escudero.

Last January 30, Arroyo issued Administrative Order 225 ordering cabinet officials to launch “moral renewal” campaigns in their respective agencies.

“The public trust in government has been eroded by numerous allegations of wrongdoing by government officials and personalities close to the administration,” the opposition senator said.

As chair of the committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, Escudero held a hearing last Tuesday on proposed changes to the government procurement act. He filed SB No. 1476 in 2007 in a bid to plug loopholes in the Government Procurement Act.

“Transparency and open governance should be the norm because that’s the only way we can truly clean up the system and restore public trust,” he emphasized.

Escudero said it is the poor who are ultimately the victims of corruption in government, pointing out that it diverts funds intended for crucial social services – such as healthcare, education and housing.


PGMA’s election in 2004 affirmed her moral ascendancy, says Ermita , Press secretary

As an elected leader of the land, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has all the qualifications, particularly the moral ascendancy to lead the nation in the implementation of a moral renewal program for government agencies.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita pointed this out in reply to some administration critics questioning the credibility of the President in the implementation of Administrative Order 255 (AO 255), which she signed on Jan. 30 “directing the heads of the executive departments to lead moral renewal in their agencies.”

“There’s no question whatsoever that President Arroyo has the highest moral standard to make a call on moral recovery,” Ermita said noting that in 2004 she was elected president of the philippines and head of some 89 million Filipinos.

Last week, the President issued AO 255 tasking all her Cabinet officials and agency heads to implement a moral renewal program in their respective agencies in coordination with religious and civic groups that include measures for values formation and zero tolerance for corruption.

Under the AO, the President wants all Cabinet officials and heads of offices to ensure that all attached agencies and bureaus adopt and implement the Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP), which is part of the National Anti-Corruption Framework for the executive branch.

The President said the department heads should also expand and strengthen the membership of the integrity committee in every department, agency, bureau and office and the moral renewal should also include the conduct of values formation activities with the Presidential Council on Values Formation.

All agencies shall submit their respective action plans for their Moral Renewal Program to the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC), copy furnished the President, within 90 days upon the effectivity of the administrative order.

Agencies were also directed to allocate a portion of their maintenance, operations and overhead expenditures budget to fund values formation and anti-corruption programs.

The President said the PAGC would monitor and evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the moral renewal program to include surveys of personnel from all levels.

Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Filipino Political Character

by: jun asuncion

Part 1: The Virtue Of Sincerity As The Foundation Of Sustainable Political Culture

Lack or flawed sincerity  underlies our socio-political underdevelopment. What is sincerity? Webster dictionary defines it as honesty of mind and intention. It is therefore closely related to honesty. The political Filipinos have the fondness of making things complicated; they corrupt a simple thought or action habitually and they are now trapped within this system they created themselves. The whole nation seems to have been trapped by this system. Personal interaction is reflected in national politics. For after all, the individual trees define the quality of the forest.  This is implied in the Confucian’s Analects which contain the following statement in Chapter I:

(主忠信。毋友不如己者。過,則勿憚改。)Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Then no friends would not be like yourself (all friends would be as loyal as yourself). If you make a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it.”

Simply put, a sincere leader produces sincere followers. A sincere president gathers around him sincere public officials.  Just look at what the insincere presidents in the past and the insincere incumbent president have done: They have ruined the political culture and the national economy. These presidents produced insincere politicians all over the country and an overall primitive and stupor political culture, making all existing political structures dysfunctional. While blessed with abundant natural resources and enough labor force inside and outside (OFW), and while the world organizations are sincerely sending their developmental funds to Manila, the  character-deformed and greed-driven politicians were- and are busy channeling these funds to their own bank accounts under the protective shields of  Bank Secrecy laws  and the constitutional Right Of Privacy.

Lack of sincerity complicates and weakens human transactions of all kinds. Not to support Abbu Sayaf, Al-Qaeda  and any form of terrorist or mafia organisations or rebels like the Tamil Tigers, NPA or MILF, etc., but I guess,  viewed within their organisational and operational context, sincerity is not a rare commodity among these people for the price of insincerity is very high. The result of their success is obvious for until now government forces the world over have failed to destroy them and the truth of their indestructibility is proven with each day. On the other side, our laws paradoxically protect the insincere and erring government servants. It appears therefore that all efforts displayed publicly of fighting poverty, corruption, insurrection and a better political system are helpless for  until now we still do not have a government that’s sincerely addressing these issues.

It’s not that we Filipinos are born thieves but we are not sincere with our ethical-moral standards, leading us easily to transgress them in case of  material insufficiency, opportunity or  power afforded to one by virtue of his office. The Philippines is one of the most plundered nations in the world- by its own civil servants. And when a president, a state prosecutor or an agrarian under-secretary steal public funds, it is definitely  not only a case of character weakness but  an act of treachery. This logic of greed cascades from top to bottom at high speed from the national to the local governments down to the barangays, thus destroying the very foundations of political culture and the socio-economic structures of the nation almost irretrievably.

What is Character?

Again our Webster: 1. Character is the sum of qualities by which a person (or a thing) is distinguished from others ; 2. Charater is the stamp impressed by nature, education or habit.

Filipino Weaknesses: 

1. Utang Na Loob (Debt Of Gratitude). Up to a certain point it is a virtue, but too much is a trap in itself.  We Filipinos exaggerated this trait unwittingly believing this was natural to us, hence, good. In truth, this is a colonial residue. This is not strength but rather a weakness for it is built upon our belief that we Filipinos were of lesser value. This resulted to over-subjugation in order to survive. Filipinos did survive, but heavily damaged from within. This exaggerated Utang Na Loob prevented the Filipinos from developing that Selbst-Bewusstsein or Self -Confidence necessary to get out of our miserable situation. The revolutions freed the Filipinos from the oppressors physically, but the oppressed has remained in their psyche. Applied into  politics, this trait is at the core of corruption for this prevents the mind from siding to the ideals of common good but rather reduces it to side with things or with people whom the political Filipinos are indebted to -or beholden to- in one way or another.

2. Crab-Mentality. This is what divides the Filipinos as one people and therefore prevents the building of a  progressive nation. For instead, we pull each other down out of envy or just plain egotism. We cannot replace  burdensome administration  if each of us chooses rather to solo his fight and achieves nothing. This is the weakness of the opposition against the incumbent administration: Each prominent opposition politician is running for presidency instead of rallying their forces together behind one candidate of their own. The opposition in the Philippines is splittered, kanya-kanya. In politics, nothing great is accomplished by a lone wolf. The administration has the greater command because aside for its  established political machinery, they have the support of local governments who are dependent on them, and so it is  most likey that the administration’s candidate will win the election. And so the stupor of governance remains; our nation doesn’t move forward but rather backwards- like a crab.

3. Ningas-Cogon. This reinforces the crab in us for this means total retreat after taking a few steps to the front. Good politics can achieve something substantial if it is held on a steady course over time. The same way with fighting for a cause. Nothing will happen if the people cannot stay and fight to the end. To come and go as you wish is never a big help to your team. With this, nothing will ever be accomplished.

4. Mañana Habit. This is the reason why everything has been delayed in our country. We push everything for tomorrow, so don’t ask for progress now for with this habit, progress will never be a thing of today but will always be a thing of tomorrow. This habit, combined with ningas-cogon, utang na loob and with the crab on top with bad choice and lacking in sincerity, then you have the perfect picture of the Philippine society of today – and, maybe, of tomorrow. A number of beautiful laws have been created but their implementations are pushed for tomorrow, good bills are made to wait for years before passed into laws therefore allowing crimes  to happen which could have been prevented.

Hiya or Shyness, false modesty, self-deprication are interrelated qualities which are typically overemphasized among Filipinos. Again, depending on the degree of manifestation they could be “strengths” in that they give the Filipino character that distinctive flavor or even attractiveness for other observers. Psychologically, it is an expression of a deep-seated complex of inferiority – being hit by the rod for centuries.

 Filipino Strengths:

1. Strong Family Orientation (Family-ties). After all these years, I still consider this trait as our strongest strength for it is the reason behind why the Philippines is still existing even in the face of high migration, internal conflicts, political and economic crises: The Filipino families just stay together. Filipinos abroad normally go back home even after years of being away simply because of their loyalty to their family and relatives. This is not class-specific for it is indeed a strong trait observed not only among the poor but even among the affluent Filipino families.

2. Utang Na Loob (Debt Of Gratitude). As mentioned, this is a Filipino strength when kept in proper place (private life), hence doesn’t rob us of our objectivity and correct performance of our public duty. This trait shows our thankfulness- or of looking back- to people and situations that have touched our lives positively. This is inherent in all other strengths of the Filipinos.

3. Pakikisama (Social Flexibility).This is the result of long experience and contact with foreign cultures since the beginning of Philippine history. Closely related to Pakikiramdam or Pakikipagkapwa-tao, I translate this as social flexibility for this what is all about being a Filipino in a social setting – that of striving for harmony in our interpersonal relationships. This makes us attractive to other nationalities for we can easily connect with them and give them the feeling that we understand and accept them. To this belongs the habit of subordinating ourselves to others- especially to the white skinned-nationals, which I consider a learned reflex developed during our long history of ambivalence-eliciting colonialism. The rod had for centuries shaped our reflexes that we still have today, conditioned our pattern of responses to certain social ideas and situations. The idea for instance that to be involved in politics is “meddling” with the affairs of others (the politicians) when in fact politics is everybody’s business.

But Filipinos’ early exposure to other languages like Spanish, English, Chinese and Japanese contributes to this flexibility and social competence facilitating social connections even in international settings. The many Oversea Filipino Workers scattered all over the globe has also the effect of contributing to the Philippines’ linguistic know-how for many of these OFW and expatriates bring with them the languages they have learned in their many years of working and living in many countries of the world. I suppose the Philippines is one among the polyglott countries in the world.

4. Endurance. Also a product of our difficult historical struggles. Extreme social, political and economic problems resulting from colonizations, wars and recurring natural catastrophies have moulded the Filipinos into a strong people when it comes to dealing with difficult situations over an extended period of time. This is the foundation of our patience. Patience is never a natural gift but is a result of experience. With this strength, Filipinos survive difficult situations at home or away from home. Resoluteness is very much related to this, a trait we badly need in our political leadership and for us to counter the ningas-cogon tendency.

 As you can see, strengths and weaknesses of character of the people are to some extent interrelated and dependent on the context and to the degree in which they are manifested. Like the trait of Utang na loob, this is inherently a social strength but its presence in political affairs seems to rob the Filipinos of their objectivity and sense of duty. Endurance is in itself a positve attribute but this reinforces the mañana habit in a certain way which in turn prevents the Filipino to develop that attitude of urgency, causing him not to look for solutions to the problems immediately. Strong family orientation is a virtue but it easily slides to clanism, hence builds up political dynasties,  augments expediency, kanya-kanya attitude and crab mentality but diminishes the  perception of common good and  nationalism.

Technically, if character is a collection of habits, and habit  a conditioned behaviour or sets of responses, and character determines our behavior to a particular situation or groups of situations, modifying habits through training can therefore effect a change in character and ultimately our behavior.

This is what the politicians, civic and church leaders mean by moral revolution, which is a term so vague that they end up not really knowing what to do but  to the  false belief  that reciting long litanies and holding hands together in circles  they could already solve this national dilemma.

Of course, nature (genetics) also accounts for the development of character but this is another topic by itself. What interests us is the effect (stamp according to Webster dictionary) of culture and habit (experience)  for this is the more practical way of explaining the Filipino political character and of devising a model of political character building with the habit as the starting point of modification.

 Part II: Is Utang Na Loob- Debt Of Gratitude Or Debt Of Goodwill?

We begin with the language by agreeing that Debt Of Gratitude is the commonly accepted English translation of Utang Na Loob in our Philippine culture. Taken at face value, this English translation suffices to explain what Utang Na Loob means to a non-Tagalog speaker,- and it’s just alright if we Filipinos, not the Americans, have decided to use Debt of Gratitude as the equivalent English translation. The main point now is not to debate about the suitable English translation for there is none, but to describe what Utang Na Loob means in our culture. Utang Na Loob really means more than Debt of Gratitude if one would dig deeper beyond the semantic usage. The source of confusion is surely in its English translation, for as Filipinos we know exactly what is meant by Utang Na Loob. Debt of Gratitude should be shipped back to America where it is rightfully used and understood.
Utang Na Loob is more than just being able to pay back the performance you received and then to have no more obligation thereafter- as in a contractual transaction between you and a plumber whom you hired to fix your drainage. In interpersonal relations the western people will thank you for the favors you have given them- and that’s it, the thing is settled, no other obligations.
In our country favors received are paid back with a moral obligation that is long lasting. It is not merely being indebted to somebody that ceases once repaid, but it is being unquantifiably indebted to somebody be it your parents who nurtured you, your older brother or sister who sent you to college,  your doctor who saved your life- or the politician who gave you the job or your share of the graft.

Translated literally, Loob means within, interior, inside, internal, inward, inner, deep : hence Utang Na Loob could mean by way of:

1. Negative definition- as to be deeply indebted to somebody morally, obliging involved party or parties to a reciprocal responsibility;

2. Positive definition -as the Filipino attitude of Sincere Deeper Thankfulness.

Debt Of  Gratitude-as we understand this English equivalent is more of common ethical condition of being indebted , whereas Utang Na Loob as we practice it is a cultural attitude of sincere deeper thankfulness.

This is my understanding or definition of this traditional Filipino value. Debt of Gratitude is very much similar to Schuld der Dankbarkeit– its German counterpart. At the surface, these two foreign equivalents mean the same as our Utang Na Loob. The difference enters in practical application for then other cultural traits mingle with it and so the resulting different expressions causing observers to a qualitatively different observation and understanding of it, hence the incongruence and inadequateness of the English and even German translation.

Other traits/constructs that may explain the difference:

Personalism vs. Impersonalism:

Personalism emphasizes the rights and centrality of the individual human being in his or her social, political, intellectual, etc. milieu.

Impersonalism is the practice of maintaining impersonal relations with individuals or groups.

To simply illustrate: Filipinos are often heard complaining about the Westerners as cold, lacking human emotion or warmth, lacking in compassion. The Whites or Westerners in turn complain about the emotionality, close to hysterical reactive behaviour and exaggerated friendliness of the Filipinos. The reason for this is the personalistic trait or approach of the Filipinos and the impersonalistic trait or approach of the Whites. This trait explains partly the difference between Utang na Loob and Debt of Gratitude or the German Schuld der Dankbarkeit; personalized approach to life and events are as a rule is emotionally charged. In general, Filipinos put a higher emotional value to his experiences than say a white American or European who take things rather with a business-like, impersonal attitude. In other words, Filipinos tend to sentimentalize experience and cling longer to its effect as opposed to the emotional distance observed among Westerners.

This personalistic approach to life and events has its advantages in areas and situations where “human touch” or feelings are sought for by the recipients, Orientals or Westerners alike. An example to this are our medical and health workers who are in demand abroad for their known compassionate approach in nursing their patients and in their dealing with their patients’ relatives as well as with their co-workers and superiors.

Personalism permeates the Filipinos society- among people in the streets, in business and politics. This is evident in the bondingswe Filipino unconsciously form among ourselves in our social transaction. Men address each other as Pare (Kumpadre) or Brod, Kuya, Kapatid and women call each otherAte, Kumare or Tita even when they are not blood- related at all or even among strangers who just met.

Hence, it can be said that we have an inclusive attitude in our dealing with one another and even with strangers or guests- as opposed to the exclusive, separatistic and individualistic Western attitude. The term Kapwa (fellow, togetherness or own kind)) along with Pakiramdam (one’s estimation of other’s emotions or sensitivities) also play a big role in our social psychology. Our famous Hospitality Trait can only come about because of these elements mentioned.

Circular Thinking:

If our social approach can be characterized as not direct, less offensive and considerating, then we can already infer that our thinking also follows a circular pattern, a pattern which we share with our fellow Asians. This thinking is largely guided by emotional contents and intuitive elements and the centrality of human sensitivities. Our considerate and inclusive approach leads our thinking to take circuitous ways as opposed to the Aristotelian Western logic which is a more linear, hence focused, style of thinking-  goes direct from point A to point B without much regards to feelings and emotions; this thinking is guided primarily by concepts and structures. Asian philosophical, medical and religious traditions- represented in the works of Lao Zu(Taoism) are examples of circular and inclusive thinking; a good outcome of this is the Chinese Traditional Medicine which is primarily based on Chinese old philosophical concept of the interdependence of things and events.

It is in the emotional intelligence that Filipinos excel- a kind of intelligence which Salovey and Mayer (1990) defined as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” On the other side of the globe, conceptual and structured thinking- or cognitive intelligence has produced brilliant minds from Einstein to Beethoven, From Darwin to Karl Marx.

However, this fact should not lead us into wrong conclusion that the West is more intelligent than the East. Intelligence – when we mean by it as the capacity of abstract reasoning- is not a monopoly of the Western people; intelligent- as well as retarded- people are found in any country and an IQ of 160 in a European child has the same quality in a Filipino child when both have taken the same standardized Intelligence Test and scored the same. It is in the different cultural context that the expression of cognitive intelligence differs. A child – Asian or European- with an IQ of 160 raised in a culture where linearity, conceptual and structured thinking is emphasized will have more of his 160 IQ translated into high material performance than if the same child is raised in a culture where circularity, emotionality and intuitive thinking is emphasized.

We are familiar with the idea that Westerners are extroverted type of people, ready to solve the problems and to change the world so it  fits their needs; colonization was (and is) propelled by this type of thinking. While the Easterners are more introverted type of people, concerned with their inner world, ready to adjust their desires to the realities of the world and live with them; hence as a rule no desire to go out and colonize others (except the Imperial Japanese during World War II).

Though we have been exposed to Western mentality, I still consider that our fundamental mindset is still Eastern. Perhaps this explain why we have problem with western concepts as bureaucracy and democracy in our nation: they just do not work as they should. These concepts are products of linear thinking and impersonalism. We all know that we Filipinos are Western in written form, – our Constitution is Western style and is one of the best written body of laws and political concepts in the world, – yet we cannot fullfil the promises of our Constitution because in practice we are simply the Eastern Filipinos, our practical actions being propelled by our very own type of circular thinking and personalistic view of the world.

Democracy and bureaucracy are too abstract for us for they demand equality, rule of law and justice, loyalty not to somebody but to rules and regulations, professionalism, exactness in procedures- concepts that the Western mind adore and put with passion into actions. Whereas we Filipinos also adore them theoretically, but in practice they collide with our passions.

Democracy- as we have taken it over from the West, or forcefully injected in our mind- doesn’t fit with the strengths and weaknesses of our political character. The question that I’ve been carrying a long time already is this: Shall we change ourselves to fit to the concept of Western democracy or shall we slowly adopt a form of government that fits to our strengths and weaknesses? Or, is it easier to change ourselves or the system of government? You may help me wrestle with this question.

Back to Utang Na Loob. From the discourse above, it is implied that the Western mind would see favors as a “problems” to be solved at once, while our mind would see them as “problems” to live with. And all these elements discussed above seem to weave in and out together in our daily social interactions thus giving us a clue to a better understanding of Utang Na Loob and that of typical Filipino social personality profile.

There is more inside our Loob than just Utang Na Loob if we would examine ourselves much deeper.
Loob is a core concept in the psychology of the Filipinos which has been studied in depth by Filipino psychologists. From the very beginning, our culture seemed to have been fascinated with what is inside the Filipino and this word or concept of Loob has been a very useful tool in describing complex internal (emotional, mental and spiritual) events in the Filipino personality leading to the coining of a series of words denoting value contructs with the suffix –loob. I consider this psycho-linguistic phenomenon a very original Filipino achievement and I am even inspired to consider it as a new branch of psychology- the Loob Psychology (or Filipino Depth Psychology), which could easily fit the department of Ethnopsychology.


Here are some of the compilations by Filipino psychologists in their efforts to understand more the Filipino mind:
Nakikingutang ng loob, to seek a favor from someone
Ipagkaloob – to entrust
lagay ng loob – mood, one’sstate of mind or feeling
lakas-loob – courage
tibay ng loob – inner strength
tining ng loob- clarity of thinking, feeling, volition
kababaang loob – humility, literally “lowness of the inside”
kabutihang-loob – good naturedness
kagandahang loob – generosity, noblemindedness
may kusang-loob- one who does his work without prodding
payapang loob – a peaceful, calm person
mapagkaloob – a generous person
mahina ang loob – a coward
malakas ang loob- a daring person
malamig ang loob – an indifferent person
pikit ang loob – one who is blind to injustice
mabigat ang loob- the state of being sad, heavy-hearted
maluwag sa loob – one’sexperience of a state of being willing, cheerfully ready, literally to feel “loose/open on the inside”
wala sa loob- a state of beingunwilling, literally to “not have it in oneself”
tapat na kalooban- the state of havinga sincere inner being
masasamang-loob – criminals, literally, “those with bad inner beings”
kapalagayang loob – confidante, intimate
pampalubag-loob – consolation
kagaanang-loob – something to pacify intense emotion such as anger
The word loob, simply taken as “inside” and not a construct, is also used for “looban,” which means an interior compound, or community; and for the term “manloloob”, which means “robber,” literally “someone who enters.” (source: wikipedia )

You see now that it is worth examining the Filipino soul- or Loob. I just observed that “Walang Utang Na Loob” is not in the list above (or are there some more ?). Now, it is interesting how you would translate this into English- No Debt Of Gratitude or No Debt Of Goodwill?

But I do think that how we understand it  when somebody tells us “Wala Kang Utang Na Loob!”  is the key to understanding now the real meaning of Utang na Loob. It is not only about being indebted, but of possesing- and expecting from others-  the attitude of sincere and deeper (loob) thankfulness.

Part III   From Code Of Kalantiyaw To Mt. Sinai

 This post is not intended as an academic work but just my personal thoughts on this Independence Day and as my reply to a comment on my earlier post Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Filipino Political Character.

 A Hindu-Muslim Archipelago. We know of Datu Puti as one of the Bornean Datus who ruled in the south during the pre-Hispanic period. During the Spanish time Raja Colambu was the King of Limasawa, Rajah Humabon of Cebu, Sultan Kudarat Of Maguinadanao, Datu Lapulapu of Mactan, Rajah Lakandula of Tondo, Datu Macabulos of Pampanga, Datu Urduja of Pangasinan and Rajah Sulaiman III of Manila. There were many other Datus and Rajas all over the archipelago whom the Spanish colonial power called Las Islas Filipinas, the Islands of the Philippines. Hinduism came to the Philippines via traders between 1350 and 1389 from the island of Java during the Majapahit Empire (1293-1500) and exerted great influence on the natives of the archipelago only to be superseded within a short time by the Islamic conquest of Majapahit empire and the coming of Islamic Indonesians and Arab missionaries in the 15th century.

Hence, the archipelago was dominantly a Hindu- Muslim archipelago as Sultans, Datus and Rajahs are all Hindu-Muslim titles of rulers and nobilities. If I identify myself with the pre-Hispanic archipelago, then I’m a Hindu- Muslim; if I identify myself with the time and culture I was born in then, I am a Christian.

Genetically of Malay race, our dominant ancestral, pre-Hispanic civilized society was a Hindu- Muslim society. However, not all people at that time were Hindu-Muslims as there were people who were trapped or isolated themselves up in the mountains who were not islamized when the Muslims came nor catholicized with the coming of the Spaniards. They still exist today as “cultural minorities” (a label I dislike) like the Igorots, Aetas, Ati (Negritos ethnic group) etc. with their own culture, political organisation and system of beliefs.

The very first people who inhabited the archipelago- or some places of it- long before the invention or evolution of today’s dominant religions were animistic in their belief and world view. If I identify myself with those primal ancestors of 20-30 thousand years ago – in the belief that my family and genetic lineage can be traced back to them- then I am an animist, a being who is one with the forces of nature and see spirits in them, or much later a syncretist of Hinduistic origin who believes in Anitos, Diwatas or Bathala.

Hindu-Muslim Social Hierarchy. The independent Hindu-Muslim barangays in the archipelago and the sultanates in the south all attest to existing social communities, communities with hierarchical systems of Ruling class as Sultans, Datus or Rajahs, of Intermediate class as the Freemen or Maharlikas and of the Ruled or Unfree-class as the Alipins or slaves.

There were interbarangay commerce, cultural exchanges, etc., all transactions suggesting a kind of confederative co-existence,yet no common identity, no common laws, no central government that kept them together or a court that settled interbarangay conflicts. The mythical legal code of Kalantiyaw which was supposed to bring order to the folks of Negros was proven to be a forgery.

From Code of Kalantiyaw to Mt. Sinai. This changed with the coming of the Spanish colonizers who already have in them the concept of national government, of a nation or country, of a central powerful monarchy that rules over vast territories and colonies. But before that there was this catholization that took place, the biblization of the Hindu-Muslims, and later the changing of names, like Rajah Humabon becoming Carlos, or Mariano Kagalitan to Mariano Asuncion.

But the social structures remained the same, more or less. Allowed to keep up their lordships over their barangays, the now catholized datus had to subjugate themselves however to the new ruling class, the Spaniards, or to the new omnipotent Catholic King of Spain. In effect, the whole archipelago with all its barangays was reduced to the lower class level, if not to that of oppressed or slaves, the Alipins. In fact the new ruling class introduced a new form of intricate slavery- the polo y servicio which is a system of forced labor within the encomienda throughout the island colony.

From Suppression to Explosion. The suppression of emotions through centuries of encomienda and  hacienda slavery and injustices ultimately led to explosion. This big-bang in the history of the archipelago gave birth to the concept of freedom and nation during this colonial period which culminated by the end of the 19th century; by June 12,1898, 112 years ago, the Spanish dominion (which historically started in 1649 with the Sumoroy uprising in Samar) has ended and the first Philippine Republic was born.

This short historical review is not meant to refresh our knowledge but to remind us that the past explains a lot of things the way that the Filipinos are now, our character strengths and weaknesses and offer us clues as to why reciprocity. “debt” of gratitude, passive-aggressive traits and the like are so intense and complex among the Filipinos for the Western observers.

As one Western commenter has observed about Reciprocity and Utang Na Loob:

“I am guessing that this (Reciprocity) basically a very deep instinctual drive in all cultures, but I am curious as to why it is so exaggerated and complex in Philippines…Philippines has intensely hierarchical family and tribal structures, probably even before the foreign oppressors arrived. Within such a system those beneath perceive themselves to be powerless and lacking in rights. Without rights, any act of support would therefore seem like a gift rather than a duty. I am guessing the intensity of Utang Na Loob is derived from this.”

Utang na Loob is a form of reciprocity which, as the name suggests, a Filipino version or expression of it. The short historical review has shown that for the majority of the Filipinos- before, during and even after colonial times- their history is a history of slavery or servantry, from our tribal past to the alipin sagigilid or mamamahay during our Hindu- Muslim past and to encomienda, hacienda and peonage slaves during the catholization. (It is said that peonage was the employed by the conquistadores wherein the Filipino workers were granted debt to their own slavery afterwards for failure to work off the debt, becoming permanently tied to their Spanish employers). Even up to now, the servantry is still very much a part of our socio-economic culture. Only that now, the government exports this “labor force” to other countries.

With the coming of other colonizers, the Americans and the Japanese, the Filipinos were again forced to assume the slave mode and to suppress aggression in order to survive.

Nature or Nurture?Against this historical backdrop and if we believe that personality is also moulded by external forces, then we can rightly assume that the Filipino collective personality is a product of his total experience which is layered in complex mixtures of genetics and external circumstances over a long time. The resulting product is a distinctly Filipino character. This explains the complexity of our traits when juxtaposed against other Asian people and other cultural groups.

We Have Our Own Identity. Hence, this cry for the search of Filipino identity is a travesty, a political distortion in my view aimed at controlling the masses by sneakily activating their slave mode. We already have our own identity. I’m very cautious when I hear such phrase as “landslide victory” for then I suspect that the old trick has functioned again, that psychology has been politically abused or misused again. Also, it’s not wrong when a Westerner observes that there is exaggeration in our reciprocity trait, wrong maybe in the sense that it collides with their Western concepts of democracy and bureaucracy but in themselves our Filipino traits can never be wrong. It is not the search for identity but it’s about the search for a political system that fits our own character without sacrificing universal virtues as justice, freedom, human rights, etc.

In truth, the past still lingers in us and this is where self-serving politics get their power. Our Western commenter has mentioned that “a number of deep human traits… could potentially be exploited. One of these was called reciprocity”.

Landslide Win.When politics is just about power, then it’s only there to exploit available resources to support that power. This is very visible in our politics especially during elections. The character traits of the people are the number one target of this exploitation, material resources comes next to it. It’s not the vote that’s being bought but that Utang Na Loob of the people. A politician who is good in that will have that landslide win.

Still In Progress. Indeed, the trait of Utang na Loob- as all other Filipino traits- has evolved out of this collective past, of the confluence of events and the need to survive physically, psychologically and socially. All traits had developed and been retained because they have this survival value. And while our social evolution is still in progress, I think that these traits that we have are also undergoing some mutations. Our Filipino traits are not static and final, we are changing or are being changed by events and time. We ourselves are witnesses to how these traits conflict with things new to us or which requires other cultural tools or constructs that are either foreign or less develop in us.

Our Utang Na Loob is easily related to our slave mode than to our noble or lordship mode. This trait can only develop with such intensity and character out of social and economic survival necessity. You cannot experience the attitude of thankfulness with such intensity for things that are natural to you or that you have in abundance. Hence, for those who live in paradise, don’t expect Utang Na Loob; the same with our Tabon man in Palawan, our pre-historic ancestors who inhabited our caves thousands of years ago. I don’t think they knew Utang Na Loob as we know it now- or Hiya, Delicadeza, Freedom, Corruption, Alipin or Injustice. These things came to the archipelago with Islamization and Catholization. With these foreign oppressors, heaven is won but paradise is lost.

You’ll find this Utang Na Loob in abundance for those who experienced hell or deprivation of basic things. For the majority of us our history was a history of deprivation. Those were hellish times under foreign enslavement. There were some Filipino families who profited from these periods of hell, who maintained their feudalistic vast haciendas even until now, who still practise landgrabbing and colonial slavery practices as peonage and force labor and many of them are in the government posing as public servants. But in truth they are masters of exploiting Utang Na Loob, Hiya and Pakikisama.

Passive-Aggression. Certainly, with such a background of slavery where it was not safe to express anger or opinions but rather safer to resort to suppression and pakikisama in order to survive, we can only expect that passive-aggression is a part of colonized Filipinos coping or defense mechanisms. We know in psychology that families who forbid or deny their children the natural need to express feelings of hostilities produce adults who have this disorder. But it’s out of context to say- as our Western commenter has said- that it is a form of national sabotage if he means by it that Filipinos are using passive-aggression actively and consciously to destroy their nation and political development.

A Happy Nation? Though I can confirm the presence of this negative trait in our society, I disagree with its willful or conscious use of national sabotage. Instead, I look at it as post-colonial form of sabotage. Destruction of the people through colonial oppression doesn’t end with the disappearance of the oppressors but it continues, this trauma, this learned helplessness and passivity. Combined together, i.e. Spanish, Americans, Japanese, those were 425 years of trauma, suppression and slavery, of abuse and insult to the Filipino psyche. And add to that those nightmare decades under Marcos and Arroyo. Do you expect a healthy and happy nation by now?

Still, I wish the Philippines a happy Independence day !

(To be continued)

  jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Politics and Greed

By Dora The Mouse

Politics is defined as “the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.”
Some people enter politics because of their desire to serve their country and to make a change for a better tomorrow. I truly believe that some politicians when they enter the world of politics, their intentions were honest, noble, patriotic and have that great sense of duty to serve the people. They have this belief that they could make a big difference in the way the government operates. There is this euphoria that when elected, change can be done. Some of the elected politicians were good to their promises and did the best they can for the country. They were a rare breed of leaders. They have respectability, integrity and value their honor first before material things and they left us a legacy to follow their footsteps. Unfortunately, there were very few of them.

We elect politicians expecting them to act in the public interest. By electing them, we give them access to public resources and the power to make decisions that impact our lives. By giving them these privileged positions, they can immensely inflict great damage if Greed overcomes their good judgment. Majority of the elected officials fell under the claws of greed. Greed is a powerful motivator. Acquisitiveness and envy are the prime reasons for the corruptions that existed today. The desire to acquire a Mansion or mansions, expensive cars, jewelries, power over the people, billions of money, the demi-god feeling of being on top of the world. That is what happened with these so-called leaders of our country. The rapacious desire to amass great wealth for own satisfactions. It is a never ending want for more money until the bleeding country fall into catastrophic chaos of pathetic despair and bankruptcy. Our elected leaders forgot the promises they made to the people to alleviate their sufferings and poverty. They became callous and blind to the fact that a few kilometers from Malacanang Palace were desperate poor people hungry and barely surviving and living literally amongst the dead. The cemetery became their homes and playground for their children.

Again, in the world of politics today, GREED is the driving force why some people engaged in politics and work hard to get elected for public service. Once elected, greed and corruptions begin. According to the late President Kennedy and I quote “Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” It is a beautiful quotation but do our leaders believe it? Once elected, it is what the elected officials can get out of the government treasury, stash it away to some foreign banks, and put the bank accounts in several pseudonyms protected by our banking systems. It is not because they love the people and they want to serve them, it is the ticket to acquire wealth and power. The ineptness and inadequacy of the responsible government officials who are supposed to be the watchdog also have their hands tarnished and muddied by corruptions. Everywhere you look, there are so many corruptions that people can not trust their elected officials anymore than they will trust a mad dog nearby. This is what Politics and Greed can do to a person. I hope that one day we will have that special person, honest, dignified, respectable with honorable character to lead the Philippines once more into prosperity.

Senator Francis Escudero’s Senate Bill No. 1476



This is so far the most solid Bill filed supporting anti-graft and corruption efforts of the government authored by our  Sorsogon man in the Senate, Senator Chiz Escudero. Banking secrecy laws have always been used to their advantage by criminals be it corrupt public officials and dictators, mafia and drug bosses (money laundering), terrorist organizations and multi-millions tax evasion or tax fraud cases. In my own opinion, if passed into law this Bill would be a milestone in the legal system and criminal justice in the Philippines and a solid tool for investigators. Let’s be simple: Assuming Escudero’s colleagues in Congress had no government money to hide in their private bank accounts, we don’t see any reason for them not to support this Bill if they really are well-meaning public servants. jun asuncion


Read for yourself the original document  and the report reprinted hereunder. Included below are articles about Bank Secrecy and related news articles from other sources:



“No Financial Privacy For Public Servants”


Senator Escudero

Chiz:  Gov’t officials should not hide behind banking secrecy laws
Senator Chiz Escudero on Thursday called on his colleagues in Congress to work for the passage of a bill he filed which, if approved, would enable the government to examine the bank accounts and investments of civil servants

Escudero said that had Senate Bill No. 1476 been passed into law, government officials like State Prosecutor John Resado and former Agriculture Secretary Joc-Joc Bolante may not be able to evade questions in any hearing about their financial standing, especially in congressional inquiries.

The bill, which puts in place a mechanism that allows the government to audit the finances of a civil servant, was among  those filed by the senator during his first year as a member of the Philippine Senate.

“To ensure that the civil servant does not use his position to enrich himself, there must be transparency in the financial standing of the civil servants. Once passed, this bill will serve as deterrent to graft and corruption,” he said.

Escudero explained that once passed into law, the bill requires public officials and employees to submit a written permission or waiver in favor of the anti-graft body, Office of the Ombudsman, to look into all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions.

This will effectively put a certain class of people, in this case civil servants and high government officials, beyond the protective mantle of banking secrecy laws, which are often times being used as shield in investigations involving corruption.

Escudero said people like Resado and Bolante are emboldened by the cloak of the bank secrecy law, which also leaves lawmakers’ hands tied from further digging into their questionable finances.

“This covers both those within and outside the Philippines including investment bonds issued by the government” Escudero added.

The waiver, he said, should be contained in the SAL (statement of assets and liabilities) of all government officials and employees.

The senator said the passage of this bill is timely as it will not only plug loopholes in the anti-graft and corruption efforts of the government, assuming that they have some, but it will also aid the government to recover ill-gotten funds.”

29 January 2009


On Bank Secrecy (articles from various sources)

1. The  Swiss Bank Secrecy

“If You Are Not A Criminal”

 In Switzerland, once the world champion of banking secrecy, bank secrecy can now be “lifted for matters such as inheritance, divorce and debt and bankruptcy by order of a legal authority“.

  • “Swiss bank accounts are so popular because of political stability, safety stable currency backed by gold, excellent quality of banking services and privacy- if you are not a criminal.
  • “Political stability – Switzerland has not been at war with another country since 1505
  • Safety – Swiss banks are extremely safe. There is only an extremely remote chance of losing money deposited in a Swiss bank.
  • Stable currency backed by gold – the Swiss francs is probably the most stable currency in the world
    Excellent quality of banking services – internet banking, sophisticated investment services, multiple currency accounts and many other high-level services are available in Swiss banks.
  • Privacy – if you are not a criminal, it is almost impossible for anybody to get any information about you out”


“For The Sake Of Public Interest

” Swiss bank secrecy is most often lifted for criminal cases such as narcotics trafficking, extortion, terrorism, etc. The objective of a criminal trial is not to plead in the interest of the parties, but for the sake of public interest, and so the client’s right to bank secrecy gives precedence to the interest of justice. As such, bank secrecy is not an obstacle to criminal prosecution. Both the justice system and the Swiss banks take active part in the fight against money laundering.


 The limits to Swiss bank secrecy

There are a limited number of exceptions to Swiss bank secrecy that are strictly regulated by law.
In theory, bank secrecy can be lifted for matters such as inheritance, divorce and debt and bankruptcy by order of a legal authority.
In practice, Swiss bank secrecy is very difficult to lift, for the plaintiff must first prove before the Swiss court that the account exists in Switzerland, e.g. by producing a bank statement.
Note that tax evasion is not considered sufficient grounds for lifting Swiss bank secrecy.


Bank secrecy
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 18:05:00 01/27/2009

Filed Under: PDEA-DOJ bribery issue, Banking, Congress, Graft & Corruption
MANILA, Philippines — State Prosecutor John Resado, who is in the center of a scandal involving alleged for government lawyers to dismiss a drugs case against three scions of prominent families has refused to waive his right to the secrecy of his bank account.

“The undersigned expressly manifests to this Honorable Committee that he is not waiving his rights under the Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits and other related laws, over his bank account with Banco de Oro, SM Bacoor branch, Bacoor, Cavite,” Resado said in a letter to the oversight committee on dangerous drugs, which is conducting an inquiry into the so-called “Alabang Boys” controversy.

Resado said he was also “invoking his constitutional right to privacy which should be respected by everyone.”

Cebu Representative Antonio Cuenco said Resado’s refusal to waive his right to bank secrecy indicated that the prosecutor “is hiding something.”

“This fortifies the suspicion created among members of the committee that, indeed, Prosecutor John Resado is hiding something,” Cuenco, vice chairman of the oversight committee, told reporters at a news conference.

It was, Resado recommended the dismissal of the drug case filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against Richard Santos Brodett, Jorge Jordana Joseph and Joseph Ramirez Tecson.

Soon after, the PDEA aired the allegations of bribery.

Both houses of Congress are now undertaking their respective inquiries into the controversy.

Last week, both Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and the PDEA disclosed an anonymous letter claiming on the day he recommended the dismissal of the drugs case, Resado and his wife each received P800,000 in their respective bank accounts, or a total of P1.6 million.

At least week’s House hearing, Resado acknowledged the P800,000 deposit on December 2 but said this were the earnings from a money lending business he and his wife ran in Tarlac but did not register because they considered it part of the “underground economy.”

However, a number of congressmen were unconvinced by Resado’s claim and dared him to waive his bank secrecy rights.

Cuenco said the committee will resume hearings on January 29.

Invited to appear are Resado’s wife, Rowena, and representatives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) and Bureau of Internal Revenue.


INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; The Philippines Moves Against Bank Secrecy

Published: October 13, 2001
Last month, the United States thrust this Asian country into an awkward spotlight, declaring that Muslim militants in the southern Philippines had financial ties to Osama bin Laden.

The Philippines has pledged to help the United States pursue the flow of money from Mr. bin Laden’s movement, Al Qaeda, to terrorist organizations here. The trouble is that the country’s strict laws on bank secrecy make it nearly impossible to trace the movement of money into local bank accounts.

”We are impeded by the law,” said Juan de Zuniga Jr., the general counsel of the Philippine central bank. ”We are almost sure the banks would not allow us to have access to suspicious accounts.”

Among the many collateral effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is a heightened scrutiny of cross-border money laundering. For developing countries like the Philippines, it is forcing a recognition that old laws are wholly inadequate against new methods of disguising illicit gains.

The banking law here was passed in 1955, a decade after the Philippines emerged from 400 years of colonial rule. As the country struggled to attract foreign capital, the law’s guarantee of confidentiality reassured potential investors that they could trust local banking institutions with their money.

Now, the Philippines has an established banking system. But the once-salutary law has helped turn the country into a haven for the laundering of proceeds from drug trafficking, kidnapping and gambling.

”Nobody knows the extent of money laundering in the Philippines,” Roberto Romulo, a former foreign minister, said. ”But in the context of transparency, we are hardly role models. We had to change our ways.”

On Sept. 30, the Philippines passed a law against money laundering, intended to address the deficiencies of the banking law. It requires banks to disclose suspicious deposits of more than four million pesos, or $80,000, to the authorities. Previously, banks did not have to disclose deposits of any amount unless investigators obtained a court order as part of a pending legal case.

”These are giant strides,” said Mr. de Zuniga, who helped draft the law. ”We have for the first time criminalized money laundering.”

Mr. de Zuniga said the Philippines was seeking to end a legacy of official corruption that extended from Ferdinand E. Marcos, the dictator accused of looting billions of dollars in the 1970’s and 1980’s, to Joseph Estrada, the former president toppled in a popular revolt last January.

Indeed, the Philippines is bowing to international pressure. The Financial Action Task Force on money laundering, a group convened by the major industrialized nations in 1989, had threatened to impose sanctions on Manila by Sept. 30 if it did not take steps to curb the practice here.

Four months earlier, the task force had put the Philippines, along with Russia and Nauru, on a list of countries making ”inadequate progress” in the global campaign against money laundering. The task force said it would hold off on sanctions while it studied the new law.

Critics say the Philippine Congress watered down the law. They note that the threshold amount for banks to disclose deposits is eight times that in the United States. Under American law, banks must disclose suspicious deposits of more than $10,000 to the Treasury Department.

The committee that drafted the legislation proposed setting the threshold at $20,000, twice the level in the United States. But in a heated debate, the House and Senate quadrupled that number.

Some say the lawmakers are protecting ethnic Chinese tycoons, who like to keep their finances under wraps, in part to reduce their tax bills. Many of these tycoons are generous campaign contributors.

Still, even critics acknowledge that the law will enable investigators to catch the most flagrant cases of money laundering. Mr. Estrada, a movie actor who became president in 1998, is a case in point.

During his impeachment trial in the Senate, prosecutors asserted that Mr. Estrada had laundered more than $8 million in proceeds from illegal gambling rings through various bank accounts.

Published: October 13, 2001
While backed by testimony from people involved in the scheme, the case against the former president was weakened because the banks did not release records of deposits made by Mr. Estrada or his associates.

Only when one bank, Equitable PCI, allowed a clerk to testify about the president’s use of an account under a fictitious name did the extent of his suspected wrongdoing become evident. Officials said that under the new law, the deposits into that account could have been easily traced by the authorities.

”It would have been labeled as a suspicious transaction because the identification on the account was not complete,” Mr. de Zuniga said. ”That would be a red flag under an anti-money-laundering program.”

Mr. Estrada’s impeachment trial was suspended, but his criminal trial on charges of plunder began here Oct. 1.

Despite its origins in domestic corruption, the new law may get its first test in the American-led war against terrorism. On Sept. 24, the Bush administration froze the assets of 27 organizations suspected of terrorism. Among those was a Philippine Muslim rebel group, the Abu Sayyaf.

Officials here acknowledge they have little clue where the group’s assets are. But the law gives them fresh tools. They said it was likely that terrorists would open accounts under aliases, or in the names of spouses. By having access to deposit records, the police have a better chance of tracking that money.

”If it comes through banks, there are several trigger points,” Mr. de Zuniga said. ”From the moment it enters the country, it can be flagged. Even if it is broken down into smaller amounts, it can be flagged.”


2. The Philippine Bank Sercrecy: A Primer

With recent events putting in issue the confidentiality of bank deposits and the identification process by the banks for their depositors, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, in coordination with the Bankers Association of the Philippines, deemed it advisable to come out with the following primer on frequently asked questions.
This primer seeks to clarify any misunderstanding or misapprehension that may have arisen on the subject and, more importantly, emphasizes that the secrecy of bank deposits remains sacrosanct and that their disclosure remains subject to strict safeguards and compliance with legal requirements. Trust accounts and other investments are partly included in the discussion.

A. Secrecy of bank deposits

Q. What guarantees on confidentiality do depositors enjoy under the law?

A. For peso deposits, Republic Act No. 1405 (Bank Deposits’ Secrecy Law) declares all deposits of whatever nature with banks in the Philippines, including investments in government bonds, as of an absolutely confidential nature and prohibits the examination or inquiry into such deposits or investments by any person, government official, bureau or office, as well as the disclosure by any official or employee of a bank of any information concerning said deposits.

There are only four (4) instances under the law where bank deposits or investment in government bonds may be disclosed or looked into, namely: (1) upon written permission of the depositor; or (2) in cases of impeachment; or (3) upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty; or (4) in cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.

It may be noted that RA 1405 covers not only bank deposits but also investments in government bonds.

For foreign currency deposits, Republic Act No. 6426 (The Foreign Currency Deposit Act) similarly declares that these deposits are of an absolutely confidential nature and cannot be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative or any other entity whether public or private. There is only one instance for disclosure under said law and, that is, upon the written permission of the depositor. RA 6426 also exempts foreign currency deposits from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever.

For investments in trust accounts or in deposit substitutes, if these are in the form of investments in government bonds or deposits, the protection under RA 1405 and RA 6426 extends thereto accordingly. If these are in other forms of investments, the disclosure of information related thereto is covered by Section 55 of the General Banking Law of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8791) which prohibits, unless there is an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the disclosure by any director, official, employee or agent of any bank any information relative to the funds or properties in the custody of the bank belonging to private individuals, corporations or any other entity.

Q. How do banks respond to an order of a competent court?

A. For peso deposits, banks comply with orders for disclosure in court cases subject to these requirements: (a) there must be a court order; (b) the order must be issued by a competent court specifically directing the bank concerned to disclose the required information; and (c) the bank should check and satisfy itself that the deposits or investment in government bonds being inquired into are either the subject of a case of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or of a case where the deposit or investment itself is the subject matter of the litigation. If these requirements are not met, there would be basis for the bank to request the court to excuse compliance with the court order.

In impeachment cases, it is necessary that there be an order issued by the impeachment court or by its authorized officer. For foreign currency deposits, the law does not provide an instance for disclosure upon a court order. As mentioned above, there is only a single instance for disclosure under RA 6426 and, that is, upon written permission of the depositor. Thus, for foreign currency deposit accounts subject of a court order, the bank can invoke RA 6426 to excuse compliance.

Q. What is the liability of the banks and/or its officers and employees for violating the laws against disclosure?

A. Violations of the prohibitions against disclosures under RA 1405, RA 6426 and under the General Banking Law of 2000 are subject to stiff criminal penalties.

Under RA 1405, the offender is subject to imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of not more than P20,000, or both, in the discretion of the court. Under RA 6426, the penalty is imprisonment of not less than one year not more than five years or a fine of not less than P5,000 nor more than P25,000, or both, in the discretion of the court. The violation of Sec. 55 of the General Banking Law of 2000, the penalty is imprisonment of not less than two years nor more than 10 years or a fine of not less than P50,000 nor more than P200,000, or both, in the discretion of the court; and in addition, if the offender is a director or officer of a bank, he is subject to suspension or removal by the Monetary Board.

B. Use of alias or number in opening deposit accounts

Q. Are banks allowed to open accounts using an alias or a number?

A. There is no specific banking law up to the present prohibiting banks from opening deposit accounts using an alias or a number. Prior to July 7, 2000, there is also no banking regulation providing for such prohibition. On July 7, 2000 and in seeking the adoption of anti-money laundering measures, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued a regulation, Circular No. 251, providing that, unless otherwise prescribed under existing laws, anonymous accounts or accounts under fictitious names are prohibited.

The exception referred to under Circular No. 251 was RA 6426 (The Foreign Currency Deposit Act) which explicitly allows the keeping of numbered accounts for the recording and servicing of deposits.

For peso accounts, when banks allow the opening of deposit accounts under pseudonyms, it is assumed that: (1) they have exercised due diligence to ascertain the identity of their clients; and (2) they are aware of the legal provisions and requirements on the use of pseudonyms.

The above notwithstanding, it may be pointed out that in the Manual of Regulations issued by BSP, or even before the issuance of Circular 251, there were already regulations requiring the banks to: (a) adopt systems to establish the identity of their depositors; and (b) require to set a minimum of three (3) specimen signatures from each of their depositors subject to regular updating. Even for numbered accounts as authorized under RA 6426, BSP has required banks, under Circular 258, to take necessary measures to establish and record the true identity of their clients, which identification may be based on official or other reliable documents and records.

Q. Are there other laws governing the use of pseudonyms or aliases?

A. Art. 178 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes the: (a) publicly using of a fictitious name for the purpose of concealing a crime, evading the execution of a judgment, or causing damage; and (b) concealment by any person of his true name and other personal circumstances.

On the other hand, there is also Commonwealth Act No. 142, as amended by Republic Act No. 6085 (Regulating the Use of Aliases) which provides that, except only as a pseudonym for literary purposes and athletic events, it is unlawful for any person to use an alias, unless the same is duly recorded in the proper local civil registry. Related thereto, Articles 379 and 380 of the Civil Code provide that no person shall use different names and surnames except the employment of pen and stage names provided it is done in good faith and there is no injury to third persons.

What can be noted is that the above provisions allow the use of aliases under certain circumstances. Conversely stated, the use of aliases is not absolutely disallowed. Moreover, the sanctions for any violation of the above provisions on aliases are mainly directed to the one using the unauthorized alias.

Q. How does Circular No. 251 apply to existing numbered accounts?

A. For peso accounts, the banks should have their respective programs of compliance with the Circular. For foreign currency deposit accounts, they are allowed to continue maintaining numbered accounts opened in accordance with RA 6426 subject to the requirement that the banks shall take necessary measures to establish and record the true identity of their clients.

Q. What penalties/sanctions are applicable for violating the laws/regulations?

A. Article 178 of the Revised Penal Code is directed to the person concealing his identity publicly or using a fictitious name and the penalty would range from one day up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine up to P500,000. For violation of Commonwealth Act 142, which is likewise directed to the person using an unauthorized alias, the penalty is imprisonment from one year to five years and a fine of P5,000 to P10,000. For the violation of Circular 251, it is subject to the administrative sanction on the bank and/or responsible directors/officers of fine up to P30,000 per transaction.

C. Continued confidentiality/secrecy of deposit transactions

Q. Is confidentiality/secrecy of deposit accounts compromised with the issuance of Circular 251?

A. No. Circular 251 merely disallowed the opening of fictitious and anonymous accounts and has not in any way modified nor lessened the safeguards and protection to depositors under RA 1405. This means that, notwithstanding Circular 251, deposit accounts cannot be examined or looked into except under the limited circumstances provided for in RA 1405.

Q. Why are the BSP and the BAP advocating the amendment to bank secrecy laws?

A. The proposal of BSP and BAP is for access to deposit accounts only under exceptional circumstances, such as deposits only above the P50-million level and in relation to the commission of serious offenses like racketeering and illicit drug trade. Except for these instances, depositors and those with legitimate transactions remain protected under RA 1405. The objective of the proposal is to institute this measure as an anti-money laundering campaign so as to delete the Philippines as a non-cooperative country in the list of the Financial Action Task Force against money laundering.


MANILA, Philippines – Former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante admitted on Tuesday that he withdrew a “small” amount from some of his bank accounts which were ordered frozen by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
During the resumption of the Senate investigation into the P728-million fertilizer fund mess, Bolante made the admission but declined to disclose specific details of the transactions.

“Maliit lang (Just a little)… I’m sorry I cannot disclose the specifics,” Bolante said.

When asked if he withdrew the amount from the bank after the account was unfrozen, Bolante said replied in the affirmative.

Bolante’s answer prompted AMLC executive director Vicente Aquino to inform those at the hearing that the bank where Bolante made a withdrawal may face sanctions for allowing the withdrawal, saying the Anti-Money Laundering Act requires official confirmation from the AMLC for any such withdrawal.

“May possible liability ang bank for not getting official confirmation from AMLC (The bank faces a possible liability for not getting an official confirmation from AMLC),” Aquino said.

Aquino admitted that such information is covered under the Bank Secrecy Act, and it is up to Bolante as the account owner to disclose it.

During the hearing, Sen. Panfilo Lacson expressed dismay over the situation, saying: “Talong-talo ang gobyerno rito. Ang bank secrecy act dapat ma-amend (The government is one big loser here. The bank secrecy law needs to be amended).”

This, as he pushed for the exclusion of government officials from the Bank Secrecy Act.

“(I had filed) an amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act, all government officials and employees should have automatically waive their rights once they are in government. That will solve a lot of problems of corruption in this country. Unfortunately wala ni isang hearing sa committee level for three Congresses I have been filing (not even one hearing was held for it in the three Congresses I filed it),” Lacson said.

He asked Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile to include his bill in the list of priority measures, now that they are in the majority bloc.

Lacson also pointed out that when he was being “vilified” in 2001 by then Armed Forces intelligence chief Victor Corpus, he waived his right to bank secrecy.

Enrile, for his part, said it was a “good proposal” but it needs study to make sure it is not used for harassment.

“My bill involves government officials and employees while in government service,” Lacson said. – GMANews.TV

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Senate seeks lifting of Bank Secrecy

Mario B. Casayuran

The Senate led by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile pressed yesterday for the immediate amendment of Republic Act 9160 (Anti-Money Laundering law) to lift secrecy on bank deposits following the controversial P728 million fertilizer fund scam.
The amendment, Enrile said, is needed to arrest criminality in the country, particularly on the unabated illegal drug industry, corruption and other illegal activities.

Yesterday, opposition Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson filed for the third time in three years his bill seeking to amend the law.

Sen. Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said he is now terminating the committee hearing on the fertilizer scam with various proposed recommendations foremost of which are proposed amendments to the AMLC law.

Lacson complained that, based on the current provisions of the AMLC law, the government is at the losing end in the fight against criminality, terrorism and terrorism financing, trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling, sexual exploitation of children, corruption and bribery, illicit arms trafficking, currency counterfeiting, forgery and environmental crime.

The filing of the bill came after controversial former Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Jocelyn ‘’Joc Joc” Bolante told senators in yesterday’s public hearing by the Gordon committee that he was able to withdraw a part of his four bank accounts earlier frozen by the Court of Appeals.

The testimony of Bolante, who continues to face senators following allegations that he is the architect of the fertilizer fund scam that preceded the May 2004 presidential elections, surprised Gordon and Vicente S. Aquino, executive director of the AMLC secretariat.

Bolante said he was able to withdraw a small portion of his bank account after the court had lifted its freeze order.

Pressed by Lacson, Bolante refused to disclose the amount he was able to withdraw and the specific bank because of the Bank Secrecy Law.

The former Philippine National Police (PNP) director-general had filed a bill that those entering the government service should waive their right to invoke the Bank Secrecy law but Congress has not acted on it favorably.

Aquino said he is supporting the Lacson bill because the ALMC cannot examine bank accounts that are criminally-tainted because the ALMC law is mandated to give advance notice to depositors on the release of questioned bank deposits based on the Eugenio decision of the Supreme Court.

This led Aquino to blurt out that the unspecified bank that allowed Bolante to withdraw his deposit has violated the law.

He stressed that he had asked the President of a bank association to remind its members to seek the approval of AMLC before allowing withdrawals of questionable bank accounts.

Aquino earlier assured Gordon that Bolante could not withdraw his four bank accounts because the bank needs clearance from the AMLC although the Court of Appeals lifted last Dec. 10 its freeze order on 23 questionable bank accounts. Bolante maintained that he only has four bank account covered by the CA freeze order based on the petition of the AMLC.

He also denied an allegation of a senior official of the Blue Ribbon committee officer as submitted to Gordon that he (Aquino) notified the banks that they could now release the deposits of Bolante after the freeze order had been lifted. ‘’I never misled anyone,” he added.

Aquino said there was never a lapse on the part of the council as he has already recommended the filing of civil forfeiture cases.

He confirmed that he wrote the banks last Jan. 5 that the freeze order has already expired and they should now be guided accordingly.

‘’It means they should be guided by the rule or that they should ask for confirmation from AMLC before releasing the accounts. We complied with the rule,” he added. ‘’The bank account (of Bolante) is still intact,” he added.

Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera assured the senators that her office has, under the law, done its job on bank account preservation.

Enrile, a taxation expert, asked Aquino to specify the weaknesses of the AMLC law, particularly on its operations, to arrest problems in the country.

The law creating the AMLC ‘’is not a real law because it is liable to be breached, than obeyed,” Enrile said.

Enrile said there is a need to revisit the AMLC law ‘’not to oppress people but to arrest criminality in the country such as the (illegal) drug industry, any other illegal activities and corruption.”

He cautioned his colleagues that crafting a policy to lift secrecy on bank accounts should now endanger any sector of society or used to harass people.

Gordon noted that the AMLC law ‘’can be pierced’ ‘by inaction of government agencies such as the Office of the Ombudsman which has not acted upon the recommendations of the Senate agriculture committee then chaired in succession by Senators Ramon B. Magsaysay Jr. and Joker Arroyo 1,020 days ago that Bolante and others should be criminally charged because of the P728 million fertilizer fund scam.

He said the current AMLC law should now be altered because the AMLC cannot reveal its investigation in congressional hearings and that the current six-month freeze on questionable bank deposits should be lengthened.

AMLC, according to Aquino, also lacks manpower and is crippled by a string-bean budget.
Gordon emphasized that government, in furthering its investigation into allegations of money laundering, should be given the power to seize high-profile assets of depositors such as yachts or cars like Bolante’s expensive Porsche sports car.

The Lacson bill stated that the AMLC should be allowed to retain 25 percent of the forfeited assets not only as an incentive to intensify the drive to file more civil forfeiture cases for the State, but also to ameliorate AMLC’s budget.

Early passage of the bill, according to Lacson, would guarantee the Philippines’ recognition to the global efforts against money laundering.


Swine loan scammers cannot hidebehind bank secrecy law: Escudero


OPPOSITION Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday belied the claim of Malacañang that the Quedan and Rural Credit Corp. (Quedancor) could not publish the names of its borrowers because of the bank secrecy law.

Escudero said the bank secrecy law covers only deposits and not loans.

An anomaly involving the Quedancor was made public by lawyer Harry Roque who said the Commission on Audit has discovered that at least P1.4 billion of the P2.5 billion that Quedancor released for the swine industry remains unliquidated. He said the farmers who supposedly received hogs were paid P200 to P300 to sign papers that indicated they received the livestock.

Escudero has asked Quedancor to publish the names of the borrowers. But Apostol, invoking the bank secrecy law, said Quedancor “would be liable to borrowers if it publishes their names without their permission.”

“Bank secrecy law covers deposits. Quedancor is not a deposit-taking institution. It is a non-bank financing institution. Only banks are allowed to use deposit instruments,” Escudero said.

R.A. 1405 (Bank Deposits Secrecy Law) states that all deposits of whatever nature with banks in the Philippines, including investments in government bonds, are absolutely confidential in nature. It prohibits the examination or inquiry into such deposits or investments.

Escudero said Quedancor could not hide behind the bank secrecy law. “All I’m asking for is to make public the list of borrowers. What was used in this program is public funds and is therefore subject to public accountability. The public has the rightful claim to information on where our taxes go,” he said.

Escudero said the loans are automatically subject to government audit because they are government funds.

He asked what the COA, the primary institution in charge of examining proper use of public funds, is doing. “If they have already audited Quedancor, we also want to see their findings and recommendations,” Escudero said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier called for an investigation.

He said President Arroyo might have a direct hand in it because it coincided with the 2004 presidential elections, the year the supervision of the financing agency was transferred to the Office of the President from the Department of Agriculture.

Escudero also expressed the same apprehension that the swine-raising funds could have been diverted to the administration campaign fund for the 2004 polls.

He said the publication of the list of delinquent borrowers would remove speculations the fund was pocketed by corrupt officials or was diverted to the administration’s campaign chest.


jun asuncion

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


Submitted on 2008/12/30 at 5:09am
We are here posting the 2008 Year-end Report of Mayor Helen C. De Castro to the People of Bulan. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! – From LGU- Bulan PIO…

Mayor Helen C. De Castro
Bulan, Sorsogon



Sa Entero na mga Taga-Bulan,
Sa Pinapadaba Ko na mga Kabungto:

Ini tabi an saiyo Mayor nan Ina san Bungto, si Helen “Baby” De Castro.

Ihahatod ko tabi sa iyo niyan an taunan na report san ato Gobierno Lokal, sa paagi san ako Opisina. Ini tabi an 2008 Year-end Report to the People of Bulan.

Naging tradisyon na san Administrasyon De Castro an magreport saiyo taun-taon tungkol sa mga accomplishments, mga proyekto, mga programa nan mga puwede pa o dapat himuon basi mapakay-d lalo nato an komunidad Bulaneno.

Ini tabi sayo na obligasyon na inhihimo ta sa ngaran sin transparencia nan accountability sa mga taga-Bulan. Didi sa Probinsiya san Sorsogon, solamente an Bulan lang an may irog sini na pag-impormar sa tawo.

Pilosopiya political san ako administrasyon na dapat aram san tawo kun nano an inhihimo o mga nahimuan namo na mga lideres na inhatagan tiwala nan mandato na mao an magkaput nan magmanehar san komunidad, Dire tabi nawawara sa amo isip na kaya kami hinatagan kumpiansa kay basi magiyahan an komunidad sa inlalaoman na kaayadan, pag-unhan, prosperidad sa butnga sin sayo na matuninong nan trangkilo na kapalibutan. Education and Information empowers the people. Empowerment of our constituents help promote and build a participatory governance.

Daghanun na an narecibe ko na mga positibo na feedback nan komentaryo tungkol sini na Annual Report. Nan aram ko na mayoriya san ato mga ciudadano naghuhulat nan nag-aapresyar sini na annual report.


Ini na Report mapaisi gihapon san mga accomplishments nato sa HELEN Program. An HELEN Program mao baga tabi an manungod sa H para sa Health o Salud, E para sa Education, L o Livelihood o Pagbuhay-buhay, E for Environment o an Kapalibutan, nan an N para sa Nutrition. Programa nato ini para sa kaayadan san komunidad ta.

Sa sulod sin lima na kataun, padagus nato na indadagdagan an mga maitindog ta na na pundasyon nan mga accomplishments. Organizado ta na an kada opisina na maasikaso sa pagdeliber sini na mga mayor na serbisyo nan programa.


Unahon ta na muna an programa sa Health o Salud.

San Disyembre 12, inresibe ko an award para sa mga taga-Bulan hale sa Provincial Government komo sayo kita sa mga bungto na inrecognisar sa Sulong Salud Sorsoganon Annual Recognition of Best Health Practices. Patutuo ini na an saato Rural Health Unit ungod nan dedikado sa paghatag serbisyo sa ato mga kabungto.

Sa Maternal and Child Health Program, o programa para sa mga ina nan mga kabatan-an, huyaa an mga nahimo san RHU ta: An para sa mga Ina nan Burod mao an mga minasunod, para sa entero na 63 na barangay:

1. Poco mas o menos 1,700 na burod an inasikaso san mga midwife nan mga nurse ta;
2. Sa mga burod na ini, depende sa situasyon san pagburod nira, nakarecibe sin atensiyon medical nan hinatagan sin bulong na TT1, TT2, TT3, TT4, TT5, TTL, TT2+. May nakarecibe man sa kanira sin partial iron o complete iron supplement para sa pagburod;
3. An mga midwives nan nurses nato sa RHU nakapagpaanak sin 1,743 na burod sa bilog na Bulan. An 178 sini nakadeliber sa RHU Center sa Obrero, nan an 47, sa Otavi Barangay Health Center;
4. Pakapanganak sini na mga burod, kada saro sa kanira nakarecibe sin at least sayo na post partum care-visit san mga midwife, nan naayudahan sira para sa breastfeeding o pagpadudo san ina. Entero man ini na mga nanganak na ina nakarecibe sin Iron nan Vitamin A Supplementation.
5. Importante lang na impormado an mga ina nan mga burod ta san iskedyul san mga centers nira sa kada barangay.

An para naman san mga Bata o Kabatan-an mao ini an mga nahimo para sa kanira san Municipio , sa paagi san Rural Health Unit:

1. Sa Expanded Program of Immunization o pagbakuna, poco mas o menos 1,900 na kabatan-an o mga baby edad 0-11 months old an hinatagan libre bakuna san ato mga health workers sa entero na 63 na barangay. Ini na mga baby, depende sa kanira edad o bulan, nakarecibe libre bakuna sa BCG, Anti-Dipthteria 1, DPT2, DPT3 , Kontra Polio OPV1, OPV2, OPV3, Kontra Tigdas o measles, Kontra Hepatitis B1, Hepatitis B2, Hepatitis B3, nan Vitamin A supplementation;
2. Sa Programang Garantisadong Pambata 2008, nakahatag an RHU sin Vitamin A Supplementation para sa 1,466 na babies an edad 6-11 months; 11,442 na mga bata na an edad 1 hasta 5 anyos; 2,765 na bata na an edad 5 hasta 7 anyos;
3. Sa Deworming o paghimulate san mga bata: 2,910 na mga bata an edad 1 hasta 2 anyos an nahimulatehan, nan 10,020 na mga bata edad 2 hasta 7 anyos an nahimulatehan;

Sa household Salt Testing, basi maggamit sin iodized salt, 1,627 na kabalayan an salt tested san RHU.

Sa Sight Saving program san Municipio, 16 na pasyente na may katarata an in-eksamin ta, nan 6 sa kanira an napa-operahan ta.

Sa sexually transmissible disease, 21 na pasyente an in-aasikaso san municipio sa mga hapdos na ini.

Sa National Tuberculosis Program, o may mga TB, 623 na pasyente an indanunan san municipio. Manlaenlaen na proceso sin pagbulong an inhimo san RHU basi madanunan ini na mga pasyente.

Sa Rabies, 19 na pasyente an dinara sa mga health centers ta nan ini inasikaso man. Sa Filariasis Program, 83, 692 katawo sa bilog na Bulan an pinahatodan ta sin tomada na bulong kontra sa Filariasis o tibak o hapdos na dara san kagat san namok

Sa Diarrheal Disease Control Program o pag-asikaso san mga bata na suka basyada, 461 na bata edad 1 hasta 14 anyos an binulong nato. Puwera suon, 1788 pa na mga bata an nagkaigua kita sa RHU sin Under Five Clinic.

Sa RHU man nan mga Barangay Health Stations ta, nakapakonsulta sa ato an 7,534 na pasyente; nakahatag kita laboratoryo o laboratory Examination para sa 4,647 na pasyentena nagpa-urinalysis, fecalysis, Hemoglobin test, Blood typing, Platelet Count, FBS, nan Sputum examination; 244 sa mga pag-asikaso sa mga samad; Nan 101 na medico-legal cases an inatenderan san ato RHU doctors. Puwera pa tabi sini na laboratory tests san RHU, an ako opisina nag-ayuda sa 174 na mga tawo para makabayad sa mga pagpa-ultrasound nan iba na klase sin laboratoryo sa pribado na clinic.

Sa Dental Program nato, batog na preschoolers hasta daragko na, 2,404 na pasyente an nahatagan sin dental preventive nan curative treatment.

Sa Family Planning Program, 5,425 na inasawhan an presente indadanunan san RHU sa kanira pagplano san pamilya sa mga metodo sin pagpamilya. Puwera pa ini sin pagkondukta sin mga Responsible Parenting Movement Activities na may tig-narapulo na mag-arasawa sa mga barangay san San Franciso, Palale, Cadandanan, JP Laurel, San Juan Bago, Calomagon, Sta Remedios, Fabrica, San Vicente nan Zone 2.

An RHU nagkondukta man sin Environmental Sanitation Program. Invuelto didi an inspeksiyon sin mga water facilities nan mga Food Establishments, pati na an mga sanitary practices san mga punerarya. Nan padagus man an Information, Education, communication campaign nato kontra sa Dengue. Komprehensibo man an monitor nato sa Dengue Watch basi maibitaran ta ini na peligroso na hapdos.

Huyaa pa an mga iba na aktibidades san RHU:

1. Enero hasta Pebrero: IEC tungkol sa Philhealth Card Usage; Filariasis Elimination campaign; Operation Timbang; Implementation of Private-public MIXS DOTS System Health Ptogram Implementation Review; Blood letting and Bloodtyping sa SSC; nan IEC tungkol sa sexually transmitted diseases;
2. Marso-Abril::Buntis Class para sa mga burod na ina; bloodletting activites; Pap smearing test ; RHU Lakbay aral sa mga lugar na may best practices;
3. May: Medical-dental mission sa Bulan South na in-sponsor san LGU, PNP nan Bantay Bayan;
4. Filariasis Test sa 83 na barangay san Bulan;
5. September: Provincial Congress para sa Buntis Congress
6. October: Medical Dental mission para sa mga senior citizens;

Gusto ko man po gihapon ipadumdom na an ato RHU may on na sin duwa na doctor, si Dra. Payoyo nan si Dra. Kates Rebustillo kay talagang kulang na kita mga medical professionals sa mga public health centers ta. Pinasiguro ko na mabudgetan ini na position sin additional doctor sa RHU.

Puwera suon, an Pawa hospital dire na pareho san dati na kulang sa doctor. Niyan, mayon kita inhuron na duwa Visiting Doctors, si Dr. James Apin nan Dr. San Jose, na maalalay kan Dra. Palad lalu na kun Sabado nan Domingo na napahuway man an ato Resident Doctor. Aram man baga nato na ini na Pawa Hospital dire man ini sakop san municipio ta kundi san Gobierno Probinsiyal sa irarum san Gobernador. Pero, ako na mismu an naghimo paagi basi mapagaan ta an situasyon san mga kabungto ta, lalo na an mga pobre na ciudadano na dire makabayad sa mga pribado na hospital o clinic. Nan sayo sa positibo na resulta dahilan san mas naatenderan san mga doctor ta an mga narani sa Pawa, an record na mas daghan na niyan na tawo an nagrarani sa Pawa Hospital kesan sadto na nakaagi na mga panahun na kulang kita sa doktor. Sadto grabe an reklamo sa media tungkol sa maluya na serbisyo san Pawa Hospital, dire na tabi niyan. Kun may-on man, ipaabut po niyo sa ako opisina kay ako mismo an mapaabot kan Gobernadora Sally Lee.

Padagus man an continuing training san ato mga BHWs sa kada barangay kay sira an mga nasa frontlines san health care. Bilog an suporta ko sa budget nan professional development para sa mga BHW.

An ambulancia san municipio nakabiyahe sin 84 beses para sa mga emergency na pasyente puwera lang kun may diperensya ini na sakayan, pero an ako opisina dire nagpapahuway sa pagdanun na makadisponer an ato mga pamilya san pasyente kun emergencia. Nan wara kita sin mga disease outbreaks o epidemics kay ensigida na aktibar an ato RHU nan mga public health service providers sa ananuman na mga problema pangkalusugan.


An masunod na programa mao tabi an Education.

Aram man nato na an pag-asikaso sa edukasyon nasa sayo na nasyonal na ahensiya, an Department of Education o DepEd. Pero dire ini nagangahulugan na dire nagrereparo an gobierno local sa mga puwede himuon basi makasuporta nan makapaunhan sa mga aspeto sin pag-adal san ato mga kabungto na nangaipo sini, lalo na an mga kawaraon nato na ciudadano. Kaya ngane, maski kulang an pundo o budget san municipio padagus kami naghihimu sin mga programa o proyekto na makasuporta sa edukasyon.

Batug pa san mag-asumir si Guiming nan ako bilang Mayor, sayo na ini na sector sa inpokusan namo. Sa katunayan sa panahun ni Ex-Mayor Guiming, pito na barangay public high schools an naitindog nan na-establisar, sa Beguin, San Juan Bag-o, Gate, Butag, Otavi, Cadandanan, nan JP Laurel. An nagkapera sa mga escuelahan na ini mga national high schools na sa paagi sin congressional legislations. Sa turno ko niyan, batog san 2004, insusuportahan san municipio an honorarium san mga volunteer teachers sa mga high schools na ini. Nan daghanun na na infrastructure improvement nan development an indagdag san gobierno local. Testigos sini an mga residente suon na mga barangay.

Puwera suon, intindog ta an Heavy Equipment nan Roadbuilding Program kay basi maabrihan, mahingayad, marehabilitar, mamantenir an entero nato na mga tinampo. Sa paagi sini na mga infrastructure programs nan projects, naging masayon o facil an pagbiyahe san mga maestro/maestro nato nan madali na an transportation services para sa mga escuela ta. Dako ini na katipiran sa ato mga magurang, nan deri na delikado an pagbiyahe san mga nasa sector san edukasyon.

Insaysay ko gihapun ini kay konektado ini sa entero na improvements nan mga educational promotion nato sa presente na panahun. Mayad na mapadumdum ta gihapon an ato komunidad sa bagay na ini.

Niyan na taon 2008, daghanun man na mga accomplishments an gusto ko tabi ireport saiyo tungkol sa suporta nato sa Education Program.

San Mayo, iuntindog ko an The Mayor Helen Scholarship Grant na an katuyuhan himuon na iskolar san municipio an entero na high school valedictorian hale sa mga barangay high schools. Sa niyan onom (6) na iskolars an suportado san municipio. Nasa second semester na sira, an lima(5) nag-eescuela sa Sorsogon State College sin BS Accountancy, an sayo(1) sustentado ta sa Technological University of the Philippines sa Manila, BS Accountancy man an inkukuwa na kurso. Entero ini na mga kabatan-an kaya mag-adal pero kawaraon. Kaya an municipio an nagbalukat sa kanira pag-adal.

Dies y siyete (17) na high school graduates an pinaescuela san municipio sa TESDA-sponsored technical-vocational course sa Bulusan National Vocational and Technical School. An gobierno local an nag-tuition sa kanira sa sulod sin sangtaon, may diyo man sira na allowance. Nakatapos na an dies y sais (16) sa kanira. Opat na sa niyan an nasa On-the job Training sa Manila. An iba sa kanira inhuhulat na ma-iskedyul.

Sa Scholarship Facilitation Program, inasistehan san municipio ta an pagkuwa scholarship exams san mga high school graduates nato. 78 an nakapasar nan sa niyan, sa paagi san TESDA, nag-eerescuela na sira sa AG Villaroya, Solis Institute, ACSAT nan sa Bicol Mechant Marine College sa Sorsogon. Sa Ladderized Education Program, inasistehan ta an duwa na graduate na maka-scholarship sa Sorsogon State College sa Sorsogon City.
San Mayo, bilang danun san municipio sa mga estudyante, sitenta (70) na mga estudyante an kinuwa nato para sa Special Program for the Employment of Students o SPES na kapartner an Department of Labor and Employment o DOLE. An sisenta porsyento san suweldo nira kargo san budget san municipio, nan kuwarenta porsyento an sa DOLE. An nakuwa nira na suweldo mao man an inpang-tuition nira san nakaagi na semester.

San school vacation san Abril nan Mayo, inlunsar nato an Career Explorer and Counseling para sa 488 na mga estudyante basi makapili sira sin tama na kurso sa college para sa school opening niyan na First Semester 2008.

Sayo sa mga programa sa edukasyon na insusuportahan san ako Opisina mao ini na Alternative Learning System o ALS, sayo na non-formal education scheme san DepEd para sa mga kabungto ta na dire nagpakatuntong pag-eskuela o kaya dire nakatapos sin elementary o high school. Sa sulod sin pera na semana na pag-eskuela surosabado san mga naka-enroll sa klase na ini, hahatagan sira examinasyon, nan kun makapasar sira san test, tatagan sira sin sayo na completion certificate na katumbas sin pag-adal sa elementary o high school na magagamit nira bilang education credentials. May mga ALS schools kita na in-organizar sa Zone 2, Fabrica, San Francisco nan an mga escuelahan na invuelto mao an Bulan South District nan Saint Louise de Marillac School o dating CIC.

Sa sulod man sini na taon 2008, Siyento Sisenta y nuwebe (169) na mga estudyante hale sa manlaen-laen na escuelahan nan mga barangay an intagan ta sin Educational Assistance. An kantidad san naihatag ta na assistance bale P354,268.10. Entero ini mga pobre na escuela. May sistema man kita sin pagpili o pag- screen sini na mga estudyante.

Sayo sa pinakadako na kadanun san ako opisina sa pagpatupad sin irog sini na social service program mao an Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office o MSWDO, sa pamumuno ni Mrs. Adelfa Espenocilla nan an kaniya mga kaurupod, na mga mayad nan maasahan na mga professional social workers.

Importante sa mga programa na ini an Child and Youth Welfare Program. Kaakibat naman sini an mga programa para sa womens’ welfare nan para sa mga differently abled.

Sa lado san mga kabatan-an: Establisado nan mantenido nato an Day-Care Service Program na saro na mandato san gobierno nasyonal. Sa tutuo, maski may-on sin mga national programs na inpapatupad sa mga lower local governments, madepende man gihapon ini sa mga lideres local na maimplementar suon na program. Maski nanu kamayad na programa nasyonal kun dire ipautob sa local, wara suon mangyayari. Pero dire kita irog suon didi sa Bulan. Deteminado kita na maimplementar ini na mga programa nan puwera suon may mga innovations o improvements pa kita na indadagdag basi lalo maging episyente an programa.

Isaysay ko na niyan an mga programa serbisyo sosyal na nakatakod sa programang pan-edukasyon san ako administrasyon:

1. Day-Care Service Program: Programa ini para sa mga bata edad 3 hasta 6 anyos lalo na sa mga barangay, kun haen kadamay an gobierno sa pag-asikaso san pundasyon sa edukasyon san mga bata na inbibilin san mga magurang sa centers. Programa ini para sa bilog na taun. Integrated ta man sa programa na ini an Early Childhood Care and Development o ECCD, na programang pangnasyonal nan pinakusog ni Governor Lee. May counterpart kita didi na 200,000 pesos;

Sa niyan may-on kita sin 67 na Day Care Centers sa 58 na barangays, nan ini nag-aatender sa 1,050 na mga pres-schoolers. Nan makusug an suporta san municipal government sa pagtrain nan pagdevelop san ato mga Day Care Workers. Maski baga subsidia ini san mga barangay budgets, dako na porsiyento sa training nan capability building sini na mga volunteers an kargo san municipio. May-on kita sin 12 na bag-o na day care workers hale sa Montecalvario, G. Del Pilar, Sta.Teresita, Magsaysay, Pawa, Lahong, Zone 7, Namo, Bical, Osmena, Quezon, San Jose, Calomagon, nan Somagongsong.

Gusto ta man pasalamatan si Gobernadora Sally Lee sa paghatag sin mga uniporme para sa mga Day Care workers nato sa Bulan. Niyan na Disyembre, pinaogma ta man ini na mga mahigos nato na mga day care workers sa paagi sin sayo na Christmas Party.

2. Sa sector san mga Working Children: In-organisar ta an 18 na mga taga-San
Vicente na kabatan-an nan inhatagan ta sira sin psychological and educational intervention kaupod na an mga sessions para sa group work, value formation and self-enhancement. Ini man na mga bata benepisyario san ato Back-to-School Program nan kaupod didi an paghatag sa kanira sin mga kagamitan sa escuelahan basi maka-erescuela guihapon. Tinipon ta man an mga magurang sini na mga bata nan inturukduan san MSWDO sin mga self-enhancement activites nan an tungkol sa derecho sini na mga kabtan-an. An tutuo, dire ta intotolerar ini na mga working children kay bawal ini sa batas, kaya an inhihimo ta sa niyan na matukduan an magurang sa direcho san mga bata nira na dire dapat nag-tatrabaho kundi nasa escuelahan. ;

3. Unlad Kabataan Program o An programa sa Out-of-School Youth o
OSY: Sa taon na ini, may-on kita sin 124 na mga kabatan-an na dire na nag-eerescuela an inasikaso san municipio sa paagi san MSWDO. Hale sira sa San Isidro, Libertad, Laurel, Inararan, Fabrica, San Ramon, Zone 7, Lahong, San Francisco, Aquino, San Vicente, Obrero, Dolos. Sa paagi sini na Unlad Kabataan Program, nakapartisipar sira sa sayo na Orientation Training san Marso 8-9 sa Irosin , Sorsogon. Kaupod man sa mga training o edukasyon nira an team building activities manungod sa self-development, positive values and team work. Intukduan ta sira sin manera sin mga business ventures o pagnegosyo pareho san t-shirt printing. Pasalamat kita sa mga SK Councils san Laurel, Aquino, San Francisco, Libertad, Lahong, Inararan nan San Vicente sa incontribuer nira na pondo basi maging pasil ini na mga programa.

4. Importante man na parte san education program nato an manungod sa pamilya. Kaya mahigos kita sa mga Pre-marital counseling activities san MSWDO. Sa taon na ini, nakaserbi kita sin 210 na pades sin maarasawa bilang preparasyon sa pagpamilya.

5. Mantenido nan insususteneran ta man an ERPAT Program o Empowerment
and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities para sa mga padre de pamilya. Nag-pakondukta kita sin sayo na educational orientation san Oktubre 6-7 sa irarom san Gender and Development Program. 23 na mga ama ng tahanan hale sa Zone 7, Aquino, Zone 8, Laurel nan Santa Remedios an nag-atender. In eenganyar ko entero an mga padre de pamilya o mga ama didi sa Bulan na mag-entra sini na ERPATS program san municipio. Kontakon lang tabi an ato MSWDO. Daghanun na positibo na bagay an maaraman ta didi.

6. Sayo tabi sa mga programa na harani sa puso ko mao ini na SpEd o Special Education para sa mga bata na buta, ngula, bungol (mga deaf-mute), o mga bata na may kapansanan, na programa san Department of Education o DepEd na nasa Bulan South District. 16 na bata an naka-enroll sa klase na ini. Puro ini mga pobrehon na bata na in-aasikaso sin sayo na mahigus na Special Education Teacher na si Mr. Edmund Morata. May mga kaurupod man siya na mga paratukdo, pero ini si Edmund sayo na bayani sa pag-asikaso sini na mga may kapansanan. Sayo man sa mga kadanun pa niya an saato Municipal Administrator Luis De Castro na matukdo sin computer for the Blind. Dahil ngane sa malumoy man an puso san pamilya ko sa mga irog sini, bulan-bulan, personal na nag-aayuda ako nan an mga bata ko na si Konsehal Dondon nan si Dr. Marlon De Castro na nasa Amerika sin 5,000 pesos para sa kanira pamasahe nan allowance. Nag sponsor man si Konsehal Joey Guban sin sayo na bata na buta na taga-Polot.

Kun sin-o man tabi sa iyo an may mga mayad na buot lalo na an mga nasa abroad, mahuron tabi kami na makadonar kamo sin mga Braille storybooks para sa mga bata nato na may kapansanan.

Sa hanay san ato Sangguniang Bayan, sa pamumuno ni Vice Mayor Awel Gogola, permi man sira naaktibar sa mga barangay na nangaipo sin ayuda sa paagi sin lehislasyon para mapasarig nan mapaunhan ta an sector sa edukasyon didi sa Bulan.

Niyan na taun, maski baga kapus nan kulang an saato mga pundo pero inhinguha san ako opisina, nan sa suporta san Sangguniang Bayan, na makadanun sa mga pangangaipo infrastraktura san nagkapera na barangay didi sa Bulan. Halimbawa, sa Bulan North District Central School -A, in pa-improve nato an School Clinic sa kantidad na 10,000 pesos; in danunan ta an Barangay Otavi na mahingayad an kanira Day Care Center sa kantidad na 32,000 pesos; repair nan rehabilitasyon san classroom sa Calomagon, 150,000 pesos an hinatag san municipio; nagpatindog kita classroom extension sa Fabrica, kantidad 100,000 pesos. Nan yuon tabi na tinampo pasulod sa Bulan National High School, parte suon an patrabaho tabi san municipio, san ako opisina.

Daghanun pa na mga solicitations nan request san mga escuelahan ta, sa elementary, high school o colehiyo man, publiko o pribado, kaupod na an mga teachers groups o student organizations an inhinguha nato tabi na maaktibaran. Dire ko naman kaipuhan isaysay didi an mga padiyo-diyo na mga ayuda o aktibidades pangedukasyon na pag tiniripon ta tabi nakadanun sa ato academic sector. Kaupod na didi an mga sa scouting activites, sports non athletic meets, school trainings, mga pacontest san Deped sa luwas san Bulan, mga extracurricular activites, mga school pageant and cultural presentations nan manlaen-laen pa. Ini tabi sakop san ato paghinguha na maonra ta ini na programa para sa ikaayad san ato komunidad. Nan sayo sa ugali ko na kun kaya man lang san ako iskedyul, nahinguha talaga ako na mabisita an mga escuelahan lalo na kun may mga imbitasyon sira sa mga programa o aktibidades nira.

San Disyembre 12, Biyernes, hinimo ta didi sa Bulan an ikalimang taun na selebrasyon san Bulan Teachers’ Day. Ini na Teachers’ Day sayo na aktibidad na inbatugan ko sa bungto ta san 2004 bilang paghatag onra nan recognisyon sa propesyon nan bokasyon san ato mga paratukdo o edukadores sa Bulan. Maogmahun nan puno sin kahulugan an adlaw san Teachers’ Day didi sa Bulan. Nagtiripon an entero na mga paratukdo sa Bulan, publiko o pribado man, formal o non-formal education man, nan kaupod na an mga retirees nato sa mga naimbitaran. An program na panggabi san Teachers’ Day an sayo sa pinakamakolor nato na aktibidad didi sa Bulan niyan na taun.

Ionabi ko ngay-an tabi na san 2005, nakarecibe ako sin Presidential Plaque of Recognition hale kan Presidente GMA dahilan sa pag-organize ta sini na Teachers’Day.


Pakatapus san Health nan Education Programs, makadto naman kita sa report ko para sa Livelihood component o programang kabuhayan san HELEN Program.
Unahon ta muna an naging mga aktibidades san PESO o Public Employment Service Office san municipio. Ini inkakaputan ni Mrs. Anilin Diaz.

Sayo sa problema nato dire lang didi sa Bulan, kundi sa bilog na Pilipinas, an pagtrabaho o employment. Kaya ngane, naghihinguha an gobierno local ta na maki-tie up sa mga employment agencies basi mahatagan ta oportunidad an mga kabungto ta na naghahanap sin masuludan na trabaho. In-establisar ta an Employment Facilitation Services.

Para sa local na employment, nakitie-up kita sa nagkapera na ahensiyas para sa placement sin mga trabahador. Nagkanhi sa ato an Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc., Gervasio Security and Investigation Agency, nan an Jolibee Bulan. Sa 388 na aplikante, may nakapasar na 139 na aplikantes, nan niyan may trabaho na.

Para sa trabaho sa abroad, naki-tie up kita na ma-facilitate an pag-apply nan processing san mga aplikante sa tulo na placement agencies pareho san Zontar Manpower Services, Inc., Novation Resources Philippines, Inc., AU Management Services, Inc., na puro accredited san POEA. 150 na aplikante an nakuwa na nan an mga ini nasa proceso na sin final interview nan training. Puwera suon, inaayuan ta sin deployment report ini na mga ahensiyas kay basi masubaybayan ta an mga kababayan na matrabaho abroad.

Para sa Self-employment Program, an KALIPI o Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina, sayo na grupo sin 50 na mga kababayehan sa Bulan, indanunan man san municipio na mafacilitar an financial grant para sa kanira na kantidad 98,000 mil pesos hale sa DOLE para sa kanira livelihood program para sa paghimo sin sabon. Parte man san Women Welfare Program para sa mga kababayehan hale Aquino, Zone 7, nan Laurel an pagkondukta sin Basic Business Management Training san DSWD, nan an flower arrangement training san Provincial Agriculture Office. Inupod ta na sa training na ini an Persons with Disability o may mga kapansanan.

An PESO man tabi nakaigua sin Career Guidance Services o Career Explorer/ Employment Counselling para sa 538 na mga tawo na naghahanap sin trabaho. Sa paagi sini na-igigiya sira kun diin nababagay na trabaho.

Inimbitaran ta man san Septyembre an Department of Foreign Affairs-Regional Office na magkanhi sa Bulan para sa kanira mobile passport processing. Durante san pagkanhi nira, nakaparelease na an DFA sin Machine Readable Passport para sa 65 na mga aplikantes.

Basi man madanunan ta an nasa sector san Transportasyon o pagpasada na makatipidtipid man san kanira mga bayadan sa Land Transportation Office, naki-tie-up kita sa Land Transportation Office o LTO na magkanhi sa Bulan para sa kanira E-Patrol Mobile Registration batug na Agosto 4-hasta Septymebre 15. Maski ngane baga may oru-aberiya san telecommunication lines nira, alagad daghan na mga drivers nato nakakuwa sin mga rehistro, lisensiya nan iba pa na mga papeles sa LTO sa mas barato na kantidad dahil dire na nagkadto pa sa Sorsogon City. Pasalamat tabi kita kan LTO Regional Director Atty Ramon S. Roco, Mr. Juan Bandola nan Mr. Francis Nelmida nan an bilog na staff san LTO Region V sa serbisyo na in extender nira sa ato. An sabi sa LTO, otro taun mabalik guihapon sira didi kay dako na bungto an Bulan para sa vehicle registration.

An agricultura an pinakadako na sector na inhahalean san pagbuhay nan pagkaon san mga tawo didi sa Bulan. Kaya ngane, sa paagi san Municipal Agriculture Office, inhinguha san municipio na makapaabut sa mga paraoma nan paraisda sin mga ayuda sa kagahuman nato nan sa paagi sin mga pakikoordinar nan koneksiyon sa mga ahensiyas na makadanun sa ato.
Sa sulod sini na 2008, ini an mga nahimuan ta sa lado san Agrikultura:

1. Distribusyon sin 35 na orig para sa 35 na paraoma
2. Paghatag sin onum(6) na karabaw sa onum na paraoma
3. San panahun san Krisis sa Presyo san Bugas san Agosto, pagtanum maritatas an pinokusan ta, kaya nagdistribuer kita mga pisog nan itaranum sa 1,700 na kabalayan nan 77 na escuelahan;
4. Nakaayo kita 350 kilos na hybrid yellow corn sa opisina ni Congressman Escudero, pinanghatag ta ini sa 295 na paraoma;
5. Hale sa Department of Agriculture, Gahi sin paray an indistribuer ta libre , 1,683 na sako an inpanghatag ta sa 1,462 na paraoma basi makatanum sa 1683 na hektarya sin pasakay;
6. Nanghatag an municipio sin 100 na pakete sin Zinc Phosphate kontra sa peste na iraga;
7. 57 na paraoma sa kalubihan an nahatagan ta sin agricultural salt fertilizer;
8. Nakikoordinar kita sa Department of Agriculture para sa discount sin abuno sa paray, sa kada bag sin abuno may diskuento na 250 pesos. 1,129 na paraoma an nakinabang sa 2,254 sako sin fertilizer;
9. Naghatag man kita sin 2,000 na pakete sin Bio-N Seed Innoculant sa 500 na paraoma;
10. Naghatag an municipio sin sayo na hand tractor, mechanical Thresher nan Blower sa sayo na kooperatiba sin mga paraoma sa Antipolo, Nasuje, Namo, Inararan nan Calomagon
11. Inayuan ta man sa sayo na Spanish NGO Accion del Hambre an Gate Irrigators Association, kompuesto sin 25 na paraoma, sin sayo na hand tractor;
12. Nagpaloan kita sin 30 sakos na gahi sa 30 man na hybrid rice users;
13. Nagkondukta an MAO sin 3 na Farmer Field Schools sa mga barangay san San Francisco, Lahong, nan Gate para sa 106 na paraoma nan paratanum gulay. 16 na semana ini inkondukta;
14. Nakakuwa man tabi kita sin flatbed mechanical dryer para sa Lafapara cooperative , o mga paraoma san Fabrica, Lahong, Pawa, San Rafael;
15. Sayo na grupo hale sa University of the Philippines an inasistehan ta sa
Pagkondukta/ pag-adal sin pili resin for commercial production;
15. Nakikoordinar man kita sa Provincial Veterinarian para sa condukta sin
pahimulate sa 79 na mga hayup, karabaw, baka, nan inupod ta man an
bakuna kontra rabies para sa 752 na mga kaayaman.
16. Nakadistribuer man kita sin 200 na pidaso sin mga educational materials nan mga basahun para sa mga paraoma nato.

Sa lado naman sin Fisheries o pangisda, na mao an sayo sa mayor na pagbuhay san mga taga-Bulan, ini an mga inhinguha tabi san municipio ta:

1. Nagdistribuer kita sin 13 na bottom set gill nets o hikot para sa pili na mga
paraisda hale sa coastal barangay;
2. Nagpalit -hikot man kita sin legal na hikot didto sa 15 na paraisda na illegal na hikot an ingagamit;
3. Naghatag man kita sin nets nan crablets sa grupo sin Butag Aquasilviculture Fishermen Group. 15 na parakasag an nakinabang sini;
4. Hale man sa Department of Agriculture nakaayo kita sin 11,000 na fingerlings o piyak sin isda, nan ini inbuhian ta sa mga salog, dam nan open water sa 11 na barangay didi sa Bulan;
5. Sa sayo na demo farm sa San Rafael, nagkondukta kita sin semi-intensive milkfish culture training;
6. Padagus an implementasyon ta san Fishery Laws mala ngane kay 20 na paraisda an nadakop ta na nan duwa sini sinang-atan ta na kaso sa korte, dahil sa paggamit dinamita; Sini lang na nakaagi na Disyembre 22, kinumpiskar nato sa relanse an dininamitahan na sobra 80 kilos na sibubog.
7. Sige man nato an monitor san Red Tide na niyan apektado an Sorsogon waters; Sa katunayan nagkumpiskar an ato Market administration sin mga baduy na hale sa Sorsogon Bay na dire dapat ipabakal sa relanse;
8. Hinatagan ta man insentibo an 10 na paraisda na nagsalbar sin pawikan nan mga dolphins didi sa kadagatan san Bulan;
9. Pormal nato na in-organisar san Oktubre, sa danun san Municipal FARMC, Maritime Police, PNP, Market Administration, MAO, an Bantay Dagat Task Force, na kompuesto sin 75 na miembros san mga coastal barangays para magdanun sa municipio sa pag-priber sin illegal na pangisda.
10. Dahil sa Fish Scare na nangyari o nagkaharaduk an mga tawo na magkaraon isda dahil sa balita na an mga isda possible nahiluan sin endosulfan hale sa lumubog na barko Princess of the Stars san Hunyo, naapekataran an pagbuhay san mga paraisda ta nan an mga paratinda sa relanse. Kaya an hinimo ta, kaupod an taga- Provincial Agriculture Office nan MAO, nanguna ako sa Fish-eating Demonstration sa may relanse nan ipaimud sa tawo na dire man kita apektado. Bilang lider dapat ako manguna sa mga bagay na ini na dire mawaraan pag-asa an mga kabungto ta dahil pagbuhay nira an nakataya.

Sa lado sin Kooperatibismo, o an programa para sa mga Kooperatiba, pormal na inluchar san ako Opisina an Municipal Cooperative Development Program nan an pag reorganisar san Municipal Cooperative Development Council san nakaagi na Hulyo 17. An in-appoint ko na consultant sini na programa mao tabi si dating Board Member Joy Dellomas, na labi kaaktibo sa cooperative movement. Siya an magiging kadanun ko basi lalo nato mapakusog ini na programa kun haen daghan an makinabang. Sa katunayan, nakiistorya an cooperative council sa Land Bank of the Philippines basi madanunan an mga grupo na ini na mapaunhan an kanira mga negosyo nan madanunan an mga miembro san kada grupo. Sa paagi san MCDC may-on na kita sin sayo na coordinating agency .

Sa presente tabi, padagus an konstruksiyoin nato san bag-o na Wet Market para sa mga paratinda isda nan karne, nan pag nahuman ta na ini na Wet Section duon ta ibalyo ini na mga paratinda nan yadto na mga dry goods traders didi sa may pader ni Mr. Benjamin Yu sa Padre Diaz Street sa sulod san relanse basi mapaayos ta man an sector san transportasyon sa luwas. An kantidad sini na wet market labi un milyon de pesos.

San Enero, inbatugan ta na tabi an operasyon san Municipal Slaugherhouse didto sa Barangay Zone 7. Didi na tabi an pagbuno nato sin mga orig nan mas malinig,dianis na lugar ini kumparar sadto na luma na carneceria didto sa barangay Obrero. Nan sa paagi sini na karnecieria, mas nakaseguro kita sin mas malinig nan mayad na karne na nag-aagi sin inspeksiyon san ato meat inspector.

Sayo sa inmamalaki nato na programa ini na Tinampo-para-sa-Progreso Program. Dapat marealizar san ato mga nagkapera na kabubungto na dako-dako an impact o epekto san programa patinampo sa pag-unhan san kamonidad. Kun mayad an tinampo, madali an komersiyo, madali an pagbiyahe san tawo, madali an progreso. Kaya ngani mantenido tabi nato an Heavy Equipment Program. Maski luma na an mga kagamitan nato na naipundar pa san gobierno local san panahun ni Ex Mayor Guiming, padagus ini sa pag-asikaso nan pagmantenir san ato mga tinampo sa barangay farm-to-market roads. Idagdag pa nato didi an padiyo diyo na mga pasemento nan imprastraktura na kaya pondohan san municipio. An mga tinampo padagus nato inmantener sini na taon maski ngane kada y vez, nararaot san mga maraot na panahun. Pero dahilan sa padagus an ato programa, maski puropano, an Bulan an bungto didi sa Sorsogon na may mga mayad na barangay road:

1. Kun matatandaan nato, daku-dako na baha, sayo sa pinakadako sa kasaysayan san Bulan nan Sorsogon an nag-agi sa ato san nakaagi na Pebrero 21-22. Naraot an 80 porsyento san mga tinampo ta. Pero dahil san ato Heavy Equipment Program padagus nato na narehabilitar, in-improve, inmantenir, inrepair, in regravelling: Lahong to Beguin Road, Pawa to Lahong Road, Fabrica to San Rafael Road, Abad Santos to San Juan Daan Road, San Juan Bag-o to Abad Santos Road, Fabrica Crossing to Otavi Road, San Ramon Crossing to Butag, Beguin to Jamorawon Road, Jamor-awon to Liman Road., Liman to San Francisco Road, Jp Laurel NIA Road, Hiway Crossing to Somagongsong Road, Hiway to BLISS Road, Buntay to Calomagon Road, Calomagon to Antipolo Road, Barangay Taromata Road, Busay to Calpi Road. Aram ko daghanun pa an mga bisayon ta na tinampo pareho san Calpi-Bical to Dolos Road, nan Padre Diaz Road pero dire kita nagpapahuway sa pag-asikaso san Farm-to-Market Roads na mao an pinakabuhay san ato mga barangay.

2. May mga padiyo diyo man kita na mga Infrastructure projects na importante man sa pagbuhay san tawo sa barangay; pareho san mga minasunod: Jamora-awon construction of riprap, Dolos road concreting, Zone 4 road concreting, Marinab road concreting, San Rafael construction of footbridge, Magsaysay repair of bridge abutment, Concreting of Fabrica-San Rafael Approach, Marinab Approach concreting, Pawa Approach concreting Calpi construction of river control/ slope, Inararan repair of spillway nan construction of flood control.

San Abril 28, 2008, onra san mga taga-Bulan na bisitahon kita ni Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sa pagluchar niya san Central Philippine Nautical Highway para sa RORO. Kaupod ni President GMA si DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza nan mga haralangkaw na opisyales san Bicol Region. Kun madagos ini na RORO, dako an magiging kaambagan sini na programa para sa ekonomiya san ato bungto.


San Octobre 3, inrecibe san bungto san Bulan hale kan DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno an National Level Award bilang Model Town on Good Practice in Local Governance-Facility for Adaptation and Replication (GO-FAR) Program.

San November 20, inrecibe ko man tabi hale kan Vice-President Noli De Castro an Punong Payan Award of Excellence for Solid Waste Management Category- National Award san League of Municipalities in the Philippines.

San sayo kataon, kita tabi an Regional Saringgaya Awardee for the Ecology.
Entero ini na mga premyo o award na narecibe ko o san bungto ta alay nato sa kada taga-Bulan.

Dahilan san nakikilala na an bungto ta sa Ecological Protection nan Solid Waste Management Program, indadayo na kita san mga hale sa iba na lugar basi adalan lang an programa ta o imudon an lugar ta lalo na an Ecopark. Yaa tabi an listahan san mga grupo sin tawo o LGUs na nagbiista sa ato para sa kanira mga educational tours on Solid Waste Management:

1. Agosto, mga taga-Cataingan , Masbate an nagbisita;
2. September 19-20, mga estudyante hale sa U.P. National College of Public Administration and Governance, Diliman Campus;
3. Octobre 28, mga estudyante hale sa bilog na division san Sorsogon para sa kanira Youth for Environment in Schools o YES-O;
4. November 20-21, 20 na buses sin mga estudyante hale sa Sorsogon National High Scool;
5. December 15, Study Tour san Liga ng mga Barangay hale sa Tigaon , Camarines Sur;
6. December 22, Learning Journey san mga Barangay Officials hale sa Poblacion, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte.

Niyan na Enero nan Pebrero, inaasahan ta na maarabut an nagkapera pa na mga LGU’s basi mag-adal san Good Practices nato sa Solid Waste Mangement. An Magarao, Camarines Sur, Bato, Catanduanes, nan Paracale , Camarines Norte, nan iba pa para sa kanira Inception Workshop na kita na mga taga-Biulan an matukdo sa kanira.

An programa ta sa kapalibutan mao niyan an sayo na modelo sa bilog na Pilipinas kun kaya ngane, indadayo na kita nan nakikilala na an Bulan. Dire ini mangyayari kun dire tabi sa kooperasyon nan partisipasyon niyo.

Sa sulod sini na taon, san March 24, pinal na nato in-implemetar an Waste Segregation policy nan an “no- segregation , no- collection policy” san basura. Nan dahil may mga programa kita sa recycling and re-use, an dati na 20 metric tons per day na basura na nakukuwa san mga truck ta, niyan nabawasan na, naging 15 metric tons na lang per day.

Daghanun an mga aktibidades nato sa bilog na taun 2008. Huyaa tabi an mga minasunod:

1. San Marso, inkondukta nato an “Bayabay sa Tinampo” o Information, edication campaign tungkol sa environment programs nato;
2. Pebrero hasta Marso, in-implementar nato an Mayor Helen Poblacion Improvement Program; paayus, palimpiya san mga kanal sa poblacion, pagayun san mga parking areas , pagpintura san mga gutters nan mga poste san ilaw;
3. Inluchar ta man san Marso an Search for the Cleanest, Greenest and Model Poblacion Barangays on Solid Waste Management . Katuyuhan sini na ma-enganyar ta an mga barangay sa poblacion na maghiringuha sa pagpakay-ad man san kanira mag lugar bilang parte san kabilugan na paghinguha nato entero sa municipio. Huyaa tabi an resulta kada bulan batug san iluchar nato ini na pakontest:
Marso: Zone 8, First Place; Zone 1, second; Zone 5, third
Abril: First Place an Zone 8, Zone 4, second; Zone 1, third
Mayo:Zone 8 an First Place; Obrero, second, Zone 5, third
Junio: Zone 8, first; Obrero, second, Zone 4, third

San Hulyo, inbarahin ta ini na mga barangay sa duwa na kategoriya, nan an pag-evaluar, naging quarterly o kada tulo kabulan na.. Category A an entero na Zona san Poblacion; nan Category B an entero na Adjacent Barangays. Kaya mao ini an minasunod na mga resulta:

July, August, September Quarterly evaluation:
Category A: Zone 8 first, Zone 4 second, Zone 5 third;
CategoryB: Obrero first; Sta Remedios second; Managa-naga, third

An para sa 4th Quarter evaluation tabi, October, November nan December,
sa Barangay Night 2009 na nato i-anunsiyo.

4. San Agosto hasta Septyembre, inkondukta nato an duwa ka bulan na Symposium/Infromation drive tungkol sa solid waste management nan global warming and climate change sa mga escuelahan san pobalcion nan roadside barangays

5. San Septyembre, inkondukta san DILG Regional Office an Capability
Building Activity for Bulan Good Practice Project Team sa irarum san DILG GO-FAR Program. Intukduan na an project team ta kun pan-o i-handle san municipio an mga maarabut na bisita sa Bulan.

6. San Octubre 3-4, inkondukta nato an ika-opat na Annual Fiesta sa
Kabubudlan 2008 didto sa Calomagon Ecopark. Labi 5,000 na mga tawo, hale sa mnalaen-laen na lugar sa Bulan an nag-entra sa mga aktibidades nato lalo na an tree-planting activites ta . Nagkaigua man kita sin Laro ng Lahi, Environmental Film showing, overnight camp-out, pa disco nan banal na misa.

Gusto ko tabi pasalamatan an entero na barangay, escuelahan, mga organisasyon nan mga fraternity sa padagus niyo na pakisumayo sa ato programa pangkapalibutan. Nan gusto ko man tabi hatagan onra nan pagpasalamat an Technical Working Group sa pamumuno ni Ms. Kelly Tan kay sira an dako ko na kadanun basi maisulong ko ini na bisyon para sa Bulan.

An goal o katuyuhan nato tabi sini na environment program mao an ” Building a small space of hope in the big wide face of Mother Earth.”


An programa nato sa nutrisyon o pagpakay-ad sa salud san ato mga kabatan-an nakasulod man tabi sa mga departamento san Rural Health Unit, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, Municipal Agriculture Office nan koordinado man ini sa Department of Education.

In-appoint ko tabi sa Municipal Nutrition Committee bilang Action Officer mao si Annie Lolos. Siya an nagsusubaybay san entero na aktibidades sini na comitiba.

Sa sulod sini na taun, pareho man san sayo kataon, in monitor san ato Nutrition Committee an status san nutrition san ato mga kabatana-n batug sa pre-school hasta sa elementary level. Kumpleto an mga datos nato hale sa DepEd, MSWDO, RHU nan ini in-eebalwar nato bulan-bulan basi masubaybayan nato an kamutangan san mga bata.

May-on kita na-monitor na 598 pre-schoolers nan 195 na elementary-level pupils na undernourished hale sa 13 na barangay san Bulan.

Batug na Oktubre hasta niyan na Disyembre, nagkondukta kita sin supplemental feeding tolo kabeses an semana para mapakay-ad nato an nutrition status sini na mga bata, nan ini na aktibidad inhihimo nato didto sa Alberto De Castro Elementary School sa Sabang, Zone 2. Naniwala kita na kaipuhan consistent an feeding program para maka-cope up ini na mga bata. May sistema kita sin pagmonitor kun na-attain na nato an obheto.

An municipio san Bulan ungod sa pagpatupad san Over-all Implementation san Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition. Sa katunayan sayo kita sa mga bungto san probinsiya na positibo an ebalwasyon sa pagpatupad sini. Nan sayo kita sa pinakadiyo an prevalence of malnutrition.

Sayo na grupo na kadanun ta sa comprehensibo na implementasyon san programa mao an BNS o Barangay Nutrition Scholars. May-on kita sin 72 enrolled BNS sa 57 na barangay. Onum na barangay an wara pa BNS. Maski baga nasa subsidiya san barangay ini na mga BNS, alagad, nag-aasiste pa gihapon an municipio sa kanira.

San nakaagi na Disyembre 18, nagkondukta kita sin sayo na feeding program para sa 1,500 na kabatan-an sa Plaza Rizal. Inpapasalamatan ta man tabi an nagkapera na mga kabungto ta na personal nan pribado na nag-pi-feeding sa mga lugar nira. Salamat po sa bulawan niyo na mga boot na madanunan ini na mga undernourished na mga bata. Ingagahuyan ta man an mga kabungto nato, lalu na an mga fraternities nan civic groups o an mga nasa abroad na kabungto na gusto magdanun, open po an municipio sa magiging pagdanun niyo. Ikoordinar lang po nato sa Municipal Nutrition Committee.

San nakaagi na Disyembre 28, binisita kita sin sayo na grupo sin mga Canadian nan Australian Nationals na nagdonar sin weighing scales o timbangan san mga bata. Ini na pakikoordinar sa paagi san kagahuman san Municipal Nutrition Committee.


Sini na taun 2008, inagihan man kita sin mga kalamidad na nangaipo sin aksyon san ato gobierno local, lalo na san Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council o MDCC. San Pebrero , sobra sayo kasemana kita inuran sin makusugon nan naranasan ta an sayo sa pinakadako nan pinakahararum na baha didi sa bungto ta san Pebrero 20 hasta 22. Ini an ikaduwa sa daragkuon na baha na tuminama sa ato sa sulod sin duwa kataun. An sayo nangyari san Mayo 2007.

An kaayadan lang sa naging paghanda nato kay Pebrero 15 pa lang naghinguha na kita makikoordinar sa Provincial Disaster Council nan Pebrero 18, inaktibar ko na an MDCC nan an mga BDCCs. Naging ungod an pabayabay nato sa radio, mobile patrols, BDCCs, nan entero na klase na alarm system inhimu ta.

Dahilan sini, wara kita sin nai-rehistro na namatay dahil sadto na baha. Pero dire nato naibitaran an destroso sa mga pananum, mga negosyo, fishponds, nan mga imprastraktura. Nadanyos an agrikultura nato sa kantidad na 11 milyones pesos, nan sa imprastraktura umabot sa 30 milliones pesos. Daghanun na pamilya an in-ebakwar ta nan inayudahan san MSWD nan MDCC sa mga evacuation centers. Entero an 63 na barangay puro may mga evacues na nairekord. Alagad naging preparado kita sa sitwasyon na ini.

San Hunyo 20-22 uminagi an Bagyong Frank nan san Septyembre an Bagyong Pablo, alagad sa entero na mga maraot na panahun na ini, permi naging preparado an MDCC. Wara sin buhay na nabutang sa peligro dahil sa kahandaan san mga taga-Bulan.

San Nobyembre 14, nasunog an sayo na block kun haen daghan na negosyo an nakatindog. Pasalamat kita sa mga nagresponde na bumbero hale sa iba na bungto, nan lalo na an Bulan Fire Protection Unit nan Bulan Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce Fire Brigade nan an manlaen laen na organisasyon na nag-akuder basi dire na ini magkalat sa iba na lugar sa Sona 6.

Sayo sa inhimo nato dahilan sini na paghampang nato san mga kalamidad mao an pag-organisar nato san Bulan Rescue Team na pinamumunuan ni Konsehal Simmy Gerona. Ini na action team kompuesto sin lima katawo na magagahuyan maski nanu na oras kaipuhan lalo na kun panahun sin kalamidad o emerhensiya Ini na grupo may pormal nan propesyonal na training sa disaster situations.. Nan sa koordinasyon sa Pulis, Kabalikat, BEAT, nan MDCC, epektibo ini na grupo na makaayuda kun kaipuhan. Pasalamatan ta man tabi an National Office of Civil Defence dahil sa an Bulan tinagan nira sin duwa na lifeboat na magagamit sa mga emergencia.

An Bulan Rescue Team nakaayuda man sa pag retrieve sadto na unom na bangkay na napadpad didi sa kadagatan san Bulan hale sa Romblon sa lumubog na Princess of the Stars san Sulpicio Lines dahil sa Bagyong Frank.

Sa niyan tabi, lalu nato inpapakusog an koordinasayon nato sa RDCC nan Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, lalo na ini na in organizar ni Gobernadora Sally Lee na Provincial Public Safety Office.

Sa lado tabi san transportasyon. An Bulan sa niyan may-on na sin dako na volume sin public transport vehicles lalo na sa poblacion. Nakarehistro na kita sin sobra sangribo na pedicabs, 1400 na motorized tricycles, 40 na public utility jeepneys na miembro san asosasyon didi sa Bulan, 12 na minibuses, 10 na aircon vans, nan poco mas o menus, 30 na manila bound buses, Idagdag pa didi an ginatos na mga single motorbikes, mga bisikleta nan mga private vehicles nan trucks. May-on man mga kolorum na mga sakayan na ingagahuyan nato na magparehistro na san kanira mga sakayan. San 2005, nakarekord kita sin 199 na aksidente, nan san 2006, 225 na aksidente sa tinampo , kadaghanan sa single na motor nan tricycle. Nan kada taun nagdadagdag ini na statistika sin aksidente.

Sa niyan, mahigpit kita sa pag-implemntar san Annual Orientation Seminar para sa mga nagkukuwa sin MTOP o MPOP. Dire ta in tatagan prangkisa an mga nasa tricycle o padyak na wara sini na seminar. Kaya kun wara sin permit an sakayan san mga nagpapasada puwede ini masita dahil sa pagiging kolorum. Ikatolong taun na ini na inhihimo ta.
Sayo pa sa katuyuhan sini na seminar an basi makaaram an mga drivers ta sin traffic rules and regulations nan makaibitar sa aksidente.

San Disyembre 2-5, nagpakondukta ako sin opat kaadlaw na seminar training workshop para sa treinta na tanods san poblacion, onum na traffic officers, mga pulis na naka-assign sa traffic section nan mga empleyado san municipio. An nagtukdo sa kanira sayo na eksperto hale sa LTO. Sa Enero niyan na masunod na taun, pormal na matrabaho na tabi an traffic management team nato sa poblacion, basi tabi maging trangkilo nan disiplinado an saato trapiko.

Gusto ko man tabi ireport sa iyo na ini baga na paradahan san mga traysikol ta sa hampang san Botika Mayralda, hampang san Diamond Bakery, hampang san Plaza Rizal nan sa may kara Dopols, inpaayus man tabi nato yuon bilang parte san ato programa sa mas bisay na pagparada. Kun mahuman na tabi an wet market section, ibabalyo ko na tabi entero ini na mga paratinda didi sa almacen ni Mr Bina Yu, nan ipapahingayad ko man nan pagayunon an mga paradahan san mga paratraysikol duon. Pati na tabi yadto na sa may Zone 6 area. Sayo man ini sa mga magayun na plano na naisip ni Konsehal Dondon De Castro bilang Chairman san Committee on Public Utilities., nan gusto ko maimplementar nato ini sa 2009. Sa otro taun, magiging magayun na yuon na lugar sa may paradahan san relanse apesar na mas dire na peligroso sa mga pedestrians nan motorista nato.


Madagdag pa ako sin report tungkol sa mga Social Services Program, puwera san mga namensiyonar ko na kanina.
Kun iisipon baga tabi, entero ini na mga programa nato puro social services, o mga programa para sa tawo, particular para sa mga taga-Bulan.

Pilosopiya political san ako Administrasyon na , “Man is the center of all development”. Kaya ngane tabi, sa abut san kakayahan san municipio, entero an programa nato puro para sa kaayadan san mga taga-Bulan.

1. Sa paagi san Department of Environment and Natural Resources, nan sa ayuda sa pagproceso san ato Tasador Municipal o Assessor’s Office, narealizar nato an pagdistribuer sa programang “Handog Titulo Program” sin 600 hektaryas na ingod sa Barangay Sagrada nan Quezon para sa 275 na recipients;
2. Inasistehan san municipio an mga residentes san Barangay Somagungsong para sa kanira socialized resettlement site para sa 210 na lote;
3. Sa lado san social care san MSWDO, may nai-rekord sa municipio na 18 na kaso sin Children in Conflict with the Law o mga bata na delinquente, inasikaso ini san mga personnel ta basi madanunan an mga bata na ini segun sa Child and Youth Welfare Code.
4. Sa lado san Women Welfare Program, may naireklamo sa municipio na 31 na kaso sin pang-abuso sa kababayehan, 19 an physically battered women., 7 na kaso sin economic abuse, 5 na kaso sin emotional and psychological abuse. Tolo na sini an nasang-atan ta sin kaso dahil sa pagmaltrato sin babaye. Inpapatanidan ta an sin-o man na ugali an mag-pakulog babaye o asawa o bata na dire maalang-alang an gobierno local na idemanda an sino man na naglalabag san batas sa pagprotehir san kababayehan.
5. Sa problema sin pang-abuso sa mga kabatan-an , nakarecibe kita sin 34 na kaso sin pang-aabuso sa mga bata; 13 na kaso sin rape, 8 an insang-atan na kaso, 5 an nasa imbestigasyon; sa kaso sin acts of lasciviousness o pangbastos sin bata , may 6 na recorded, nagsang-at na kita sin sayo na kaso, 5 an nasa proceso; sa kaso sin pagpakulog bata, 9 an naireklamo, 1 an may kaso; sa kaso sin trafficking, 6 na hale sa Matnog an inbalik ta sa Matnog for referral sa kanira MSWDO. In papadumdum nato an sino man na tawo na mang-abuso bata, lalo na kun kapamilya, na dire kami mapahunod sa iyo kun an kaayadan san bata an nakataya.
6. Sa lado man sin paghatag mga ayuda pinansiyal sa mga nangaipo: 1,173 katawo an nagrani sa ako opisina para ma-ayo sin mga ayuda medical, pangpalubong, nan iba pa na asistensiya na nagkakantidad sin 1,485,245 pesos; Para sa Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation o AICS, nakahatag kita para sa 230 katawo sin 77,675 pesos;
7. Sa serbisyo san truck sa mga burial services, nakapahudam kita san sakayan sin 135 na beses;
8. Sa lado san Senior Citizens, padagus an saato pagimplementar san Senior Citizens Act, kun haen nag-iisyu kita sin Senior Citizens Discount Booklet nan IDs para sa mga benepisyo san mga kagurangan ta. Sa niyan naka-isyu na kita suon na mga papeles para sa 3,185 katawo . Organizado ta naman an harus entero na mga senior citizens sa kada barangay. Si dati Konsehal Joe Tan an in-appoint ko na OSCA chairman o Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.


An opisina san Civil Registrar may-on man mga programa basi mapakay-ad nato an civil registration san mga taga-Bulan. Batug na Enero hasta Disyembre 2 sini na taon, nakaisyu an opisina sin sertipiko para sa 2,095 na mga bag-ong panganak na babies, 228 na kinasal, nan 478 an binawian sin buhay sa mga taga-Bulan. An presente ta na populasyon nasa poco mas o menos 95,000 katawo na.

Nagkondukta man sin mga Mobile Activities an LCR basi makakadto an opisina sa mga barangay nan makadanun sa civil registration. An mga lugar na nabisita san LCR mao an mga Barangay san Obrero, Namo, Calomagon, Zone 4, Zone 6, Padre Diaz, Managanaga, Zone 2, Beguin, San Isidro, Nasuje. Nagpa-Mass Wedding kita sa Calomagon san Mayo.


An Sangguniang Bayan sayo sa dako na kadanun san ako Opisisna nan san mga departamento sa paghimo sin mga programa san Gobierno Lokal sa paagi sin mga kaipuhan na lehislasyones o mga batas-lokal. Ini sa pamumuno san ato Vice-Mayor na si Honorable Manuel Gogola.

Sa sulod sini na taun, nakahimu nan nakapasar an Sangguniang Bayan sin 68 na mga resolusyunes nan 9 na ordinansa. Presente man sira naghihimu sin mga pag-adal para sa pag rebisa san Municipal Revenue Code nan Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Basi mapakay-ad lalo an kanira mga pagtrabaho sa sulod san Konseho, ini na mga miembros san Sangguniang Bayan nagpakondukta para sa kanira kaayadan sa trabaho sin sayo na Training -Workshop on Parliamentary Procedures and Administrative Investigation san nakaagi na Oktubre 20-21. Ini inasistehan san ato DILG Office.


San Disyembre 17, eksakto sangtaon na san abrihan nan mag-operate na an Bulan Integrated Terminal.

Ini na terminal sin mga bus, sayo baga na plano segun sa Urban Expansion Program san Municipio , sa dahilan na nag-dadako an bungto ta nan kaipuhan ta na i-plano an paghiwas nan pagdako san poblacion. Sa sulod sin 10 o 20 anyos batug niyan, ini na presente na poblacion maiswag na an development paluwas san Banuang Daan River . Sayo pa, maski diin kita na ciudad o bungto magkadto, kadaghanan san kanira terminal yadto na sa luwas san boundary san poblacion o sentro, Sayo ini na long term-planning na nangaipo sin pagsabut san ato mga kabungto.

Batug na iplano nan intindog hasta na mag-operate na ini, naging kontrobersiyal ini na proyekto. Sa katunayan, an mga tawo na dire naruyag sini lalo na an mga nasa lado san opsisyon sa politika local nagsang-at sin kaso o reklamo kontra sa ako bilang mayor.

San Oktubre 2007, san sayo kataun, kinasuhan ako san mga nagpetisyon, sa pamumuno ni Atty Redentor Guyala nan Albino Guyala, kaupod an siyam na iba pa sin kaso sibil na mandamus, temporary restraining order nan writ of preliminary injunction sa Regional Trial Court Branch 65. Alagad san Enero 10, 2008, binasura san Korte ini na kaso nira kontra sa ako. An hinimo nira nagsang-at gihapon sin Motion for Reconsideration. San Abril 10, 2008, In orderan ako san Korte na maghatag sin sinumpaan na kasuratan na entero an papeles san Terminal in sumiter ko na sa COA o Commision on Audit. In himo ko tabi ini.

Pakatapus sini na order san Korte, nagsang-at gihapon ini na mga kalaban mi sin panibag-o na Motion to Suspend Operation of Bulan Central Bus Terminal sadto mismo na Abril niyan na taon. Dinagdagan pa nira ini sin sayo na klase sin supplemental petition para sa COA. Alagad san Oktubre 20 niyan na taon, binasura na naman san Korte an kanira Motion to Suspend Operation san Terminal, pero tinugutan sira na marekesa an mga papeles sa COA tungkol sa Terminal. Komo wara man kami intatago, kumporme ako sini na desisyon.

Pero dire pa sira nakuntento san desisyon san Korte san Oktubre 20, nagsang-at gihapon ini na mga nagpetisyon sin sayo na Motion for Partial Reconsideration. Alagad, san nakaagi na Disyembre 12, binasura na naman san Korte an kanira petisyon.

Dire ko aram kun san-o man lang ini maurudong na mga tawo, an imud ko ngane dire ini maurudong. kaya ako man preparado sa paghampang sa kanira. Aram ko na an permi motibo sini politika . Kunsabagay sayo kita na demokratiko na nasyon, nan may derecho man sira maghaput maski hanggang sa Korte Suprema. Alagad, naoogma ako na maski porupano maaram an Korte ta maghatag sin desisyon nan hustisya nan ini na mga petisyon nira ibarasura san Korte.

Sa niyan tabi, fully operational na an Terminal ta. Otsenta porsyento san mga nag-aagi didi mga hale sa Isla san Ticao nan Masbate Mainland. Nan daghanun na na positibo na karanasan o pangyayari an ato nairekord. Mas organizado, mas trangkilo, mas malinig, mas kumbeniente, mas disiplinado an transport system nato dahil sa terminal. Tutuo na may mga nai-encuentro pa kita na mga problema o may narerecibe pa kita na mga reklamo, pero insigida nato ini inaaktibaran, lalo na san Terminal Management nan kapulisan ta. Sangtaun pa lang tabi ini nan kun baga sa tawo, bataonun pa, pero, maski ngane sa niyan pa lang in-place na an entero ta na kaipuhan para sa kaayadan san mga nagbibiyahe nato na mga kabungto nan kapuwa kataraning na bungto. Maabut an oras na lalo nato ma-iimprove an sistema nato sa Terminal. Mismo an mga tag-ibang lugar na apresyar sa ato dahilan sa inhihimo ta sa terminal. Dire ko na tabi isaysay pa an mga positive records nato kay halabaon ini.

Batug san itindog an terminal, nakarehistro na kita sin poco mas o menus 300,000 mil katawo na naggamit paluwas nan pasulod san terminal. Nakapadispatsa na kita sin poco mas o menos 8,500 na biyahe paManila puwera pa san biyahe hale Manila, nan nakalikom na kita sin gross income na 2.6 milyon pesos. Maabut an panahun na marerealizar nato na mayad an foresight o pananaw sa puturo san ato mga lideres sini na bungto.


Daghanun pa tabi an gusto ko ipaabut na accomplishments san Administrasyon ko, pero insumada ko lang an mga sa paniwala ko mga importante na puntos na dapat maaraman tabi niyo sa paagi sini na Report.

Bilang lider, ina nan mayor san padaba ta na komunidad, pagsadire niyo ako. Nan ini inpanuga ko sa iyo sa kampanya, nan oro-adlaw ko indudumdum. Nan ini inpapanindugan ko. May mga panahun na sa katrangkiluhan san ako pagturog kun katutnga may napukaw sa ako sa balay kay may nangaipo san desisyon ko o aksyon ko bilang lider. May mga panahun na nadesisyon ako na aram ko may makukulugan sin buot lalo na kun kaapin sa politika o parientes, alagad inpipiyongan ko ini kun kaayadan san kadaghanan o san bungto an nakataya. May mga panahun na habu na magkiwa san lawas ko kay pagal na ako maghapun sa opisina pero napirit ako na himuon yuon na trabaho dahil obligasyon ko bilang lider nan mayor. Wara man tabi sin Mayor na otso oras lang an adlaw para sa trabaho pareho san ordinaryo na empleyado.. Magurang ako san bungto ta nan an sayo na magurang dapat aligmata sa pangaipo san kaniya pamilya.

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. PERO, didi ko man naimud nan namatean an rinibo na mga taga-Bulan, bata nan gurang, pobre nan mayaman, na silensyo na nagpapadaba sini na bungto nato sa paagi sin pagpartisipar sa mga programa nan mga aktibidades san komunidad.

Dire tabi ako nagrereklamo o nag-aagrangay sa gub-at san responsibilidad nan obligasyon san katungdan na intiwala, inkumpiar nan inhunod niyo sa ako. Gusto ko ipaliwanag na kun may mga kakulangan man kami na opisyales niyo, o ako bilang mayor niyo, an saiyo pagsabut nan pagpasensiya o dispensa an inaayo namo. Abierto tabi an saako opisisna sa mga agrangay man niyo tungkol sa amo kakulangan. Naniwala ako na mas may bunga na dianis an dialogo kaysa komprontasyon nan pakihiran o pakaraot..

Naging tradisyon na didi sa bungto ta, batug san mag-ingkod mayor si Guiming nan magsalida man ako, an municipio nato an sponsor san New Year’s Eve Mass sa simbahan. Sa atubangan san Altar nan sa hampang niyo entero, nagpapakumbaba kami sa mga kakulangan , kaluyahan, mga imperfeksiyon namo bilang lider sin sayo na komunidad. Nan permi kami naayo pangadye hale sa iyo na gabayan kami sin sayo na solomonic wisdom para sa Bulan.

Sa solod sin 12 y media kataon, batug san 1995, intugutan niyo kami sin pambihira na tiwala sa pagrenda san komunidad ta. Inpapaisi tabi namo kamu na dire namo yuon insasayang na tiwala niyo. Gusto namo makabilin sin sayo na legasiya sin liderato na may onra nan integridad lalo na para sa mga kabatan-an nato didi sa Bulan.

Bag-o tabi ako magtapos sini na Report, imbitaran ko tabi kamo sa tradisyonal na New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display pakatapos san New Year’s Mass na i-sponsoran san Gobierno Lokal. Makadto tabi kirita pakatapos san Misa sa may Pier 2, dire na sa Plaza, kay basi maibitaran ta an aksidente o sunog. Puwede man kita mag-imud sa may Pier Uno. Matatan-aw man ini na fireworks display hale sa baybayon san Zona 2 pakadto sa may Zona 7.

Asahan po niyo na padagus an pagpadaba namo sa komunidad ta. Wara madanun sa bungto ta kundi kirita.

Sa ngaran san ako Pamilya, ini an saiyo mayor, HELEN DE CASTRO, nagpapakumbaba tabi sa iyo. Inpapaabut ko tabi an sayo na Maogmang Pasko nan pangadye ta an Progresibong Bag-ong Taon 2009!


Submitted on 2008/12/11 at 9:34am
Press Release
Local Government Unit of Bulan


Bulan, Sorsogon, November 21, 2008


 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 Noli De Castro, representing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented Mayor De Castro a Special LMP Medallion and a Plaque of Commendation for her efforts.

In 2004, Mayor De Castro, full of vision and zeal for the environment, launched her Solid Waste Management Program, and this led to the institutionalization of the town’s annual Feast of the Mountains and the establishment of the Bulan Ecological Park out of the once municipal garbage site. This site is now becoming a model for other communities.. Early this year, the Municipality of Bulan was awarded the GO-FAR award by no less than DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno. Bulan is now a replicating LGU nationwide. Last year, Bulan was a Saringaya Awardee of Bicol. It can be recalled that the De Castro Administration, since the time of former mayor Guillermo De Castro, has already been a consistent winner in regional and national awards on the environment. The incumbent mayor is continuing this legacy.

The LMP is composed of all the more than 1,500 municipalities in the country, represented by their mayors. This year’s general assembly feted about twenty municipalities with trailblazing and innovative programs, and Bulan is one of them. (PIO, T. Gilana)

“Hello Obama!”

Or, Arroyo’s Frustration  (reaction to J.A. Carizo’s and Atty. Benji’s comments)

   I expected somehow that Arroyo would not support Obama but rather McCain for Arroyo knows exactly that she cannot hide behind Obama should he become president; Obama is just too transparent, hence  not a good hiding place for Arroyo. For Obama, it was and is just fitting for him to avoid Arroyo for he knows right from the start how corrupt her administration is. This would only tarnish his image. The pro-active Obama doesn’t want to remove but rather avoid from the beginning a rotten apple to land in his basket. And so right on day one he did not want to hear sweet-talking and lies from Arroyo, perhaps that’s the reason why he did not pick up her “Hello Obama!” call  to congratulate him. It fits his profile and I think he did it wisely. For after all he is not a small fish like Garci. So it’s right that he should send a signal right from the start that he doesn’t endorse corruption nor personally appreciate corrupt leaders. He will have to continue the foreign relations with the Philippines and it’s wise for Obama to avoid his foreign policy to be based on personal relationship and sweet-talking to avoid falling into deadly trap of Utang Na Loob (debt of gratitude), a mistake done by Bush by being too close with other presidents. Bush was too pliant with Blair and even with Arroyo and at the same time too harsh with his adversaries resulting inadvertently to black and white or good and evil political perception. This is also a two-edged political sword for in the end Bush destroyed both his allies and foes; it led to Blair’s resignation and Arroyo’s regression. Most of all, it has led to senseless wars and injustice. But European leaders were quick to recognize the danger and so distanced themselves from Bush. A victim of his harsh attitude was Saddam Hussein. Saddam was surely not an angel for he let killed a lot of Kurds. But he never threatened the USA directly. Hence, to attack the whole nation of Iraq and to hang Saddam for ungrounded reasons was  pure injustice. No wonder why Arroyo favored McCain for McCain was a kind of Bush in many ways,- aristocratic, a warrior and an old father figure; Obama young and lacking in experience, a social worker – and black.

But we all had the chance to observe the two candidates Obama and McCain in depth for quite a long time during the election campaign: The social worker Obama was always dignified and well-defined in his ways (gestures) and speech (thinking) whereas the aristocratic McCain was very erratic in both. Obama defeated both Clinton and McCain just using his concept of Change all through the campaign, whereas McCain was always changing his concept in an effort to keep up and damage Obama but it did not work for McCain’s base was not strong and less-defined from the very beginning. We don’t need to elaborate on Palin for she was a bad accident in that election. I have observed though that when one is losing sound arguments, one resolves consciously or unconsciously  to the primitive weapon of racial supremacy- in gestures and insinuations- in trying to shake the firm Obama’s tower. All these three white candidates resolved to this weapon in their helpless attempt to reactivate among white Americans the fear of the dark skinned and their (the white Americans) historical supremacy over them. I was considering the idea that if Bush administration were popular, and if McCain were not too Bushy, Obama wouldn’t have won this election. So that’s the biggest credit that history would give to Bush- for preparing Federal America ripe for an Obama. Bush the sacrificial lamb.

There is a kernel of truth to say that the Filipinos still prefer “tisay” or “kana” (white-skinned people). That’s the result of being nurtured by the whites for a long time. Filipinos are discriminating to their own fellow-Filipinos, be it in the Philippines or abroad. It is known that they would serve first the white than the brown-skinned in cafes, restaurants, shopping stores, etc. This is sad to observe. But I do think this is more of a conditioned reflex brought about by colonialism: The white, my protector and provider, the brown my rival. Its well-known by-product is our crab mentality which is continuously reinforced by the extended lack of unifying figure in our political leadership and the ensuing moral decline in social behavior. The irrationality and dogmatic stance of the catholic church has also led to its failure in accomplishing anything of genuine moral base for the multi-cultured Filipinos. Going to church is therefore more of a conditioned behavior (habit) among us than deep religiosity and moral reflection for the problems that beset us then and now continue to be a moral one in character. Self-respect and sincerity are values that we urgently need  to develop for us to grow as one nation.

That Obama seems to abandon the Philippines is something that we must perceive as part of our growing-up process. We cannot lean on  forever to our dear Uncle Sam and forever assume this beggarly attitude. At one point we must leave our adolescence and enter adulthood, must learn to be independent  and self-reliant. This is perhaps that needed push we need- to be snobbed, be ship-wrecked and abandoned, alone between China Sea and the Pacific Ocean so we learn to depend on ourselves, get united and swimm together in order to survive and be proud of  our own accomplishments. Perhaps only then will the world community start to take us seriously. Alas, the original Filipino Identity!

The fact is the USA cannot totally do away without the Philippines if it wants to maintain its influence and improve its popularity  in the East and Southeast Asian region. American popularity has declined worldwide during the entire Bush Administration. Now Obama is set to repair it and for that he cannot ignore the former allies in Asia. Arroyo did not see in Obama the needed support only because she was snobbed during her last trip (June) to the USA; she saw it in McCain. But here she was again mistaken. Obama actually wrote Arroyo-as recently announced by her  executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita- and talked about common  interests such as “climate change, food security, poverty reduction, the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, human rights in Burma and defense reform.” Obama’s foreign and strategic policies as a candidate is summed up in the so called Phoenix Initiative report and this includes 1. counter-terrorism, 2. nuclear proliferation, 3. climate change and oil dependence, 4. the Middle East, and 5. East Asia. So the Philippines still has the prospect of doing business with the USA.

Obama’s presence will still continue to be felt in our region and knowing that he had once attended a multi-cultural and multi-religious primary school in Indonesia and with childhood classmates still residing in Asia, Obama has surely a fair share of good memories from there and with this Asian experience he could also be a unifying figure in our region and add to that that he stands for dialogue diplomacy- a stance heavily criticized by Bush, McCain and Palin which escalated during the campaign, becoming louder and louder, echoed softly back and silenced these three loud ones in the end. This is elegance à la Obama.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

The Bulan-te Connection

Or, The Missing P3million

When Bolante told the House agriculture Committee chaired by Palawan Rep. Mitra that of the 181 recipients (or “farmers”) he listed, only 22 did not avail themselves of  the P3-million to P5-million allocations he gave them, I was delighted to know that there are still 22 “farmers” in our country who are rich and honest and don’t need fluid fertilizers. I was hoping however that this time one of these 22 honest farmers comes from Bulan or Bicol region. But again this turned quite fast into frustration when I read the report of local newspaperman Roy Gersalia in his site Off The Beaten Path that ” Congressman Jose G. Solis said in a press con held Saturday that the P3 million he received were given by him to Bulan town mayor Helen de Castro. But the mayor, however, denied it and said that if such allegations were really true, she would be very happy if indeed the congressman gave her the P3 million intended for the farmers so that she can really help her constituents particularly those engaged in farming” (source : Roy Gersalia’s Off The Beaten Path under news)

A lie is the omission of truth and with such a national government that is founded upon lie, it is no wonder that there will be no shortage of it . A lie begets lie and so even Bolante’s lie has infected Bulan or the Bicol region as a whole. The fact is Congressman Solis accepted the P3 million- to my dismay. He is not one of those 22 who refused. Though I still do not buy Bolante’s revelation about these 22 who refused (a liar is still hard to believe even when he is probably telling the truth -Aesop-) Congressman Jose G. Solis’ case is clear. However, his assertion that he gave the P3million to the mayor of Bulan Helen De Castro could be another lie or maybe a truth. This time the burden of proof rests on Congressman Jose G. Solis. This would have been easy if Mayor Helen De Castro affirmed it right from the start- or if  he had a solid proof to prove his case. But as we know, solid proof attesting to the Truth is not an SOP in Arroyo’s administration. However, now that the mayor “denied” it, it still doesn’t make her a liar. To deny is a normal reaction of somebody accused of something she thinks she did not commit. The mayor could also be omitting the truth, but in this situation, it is a very weak argument.Therefore, granting our mayor her right to presumption of innocence (and the law does not require her to prove her innocence or produce any evidence at all), we should rather focus on Congressman Solis’ corruptible character (for he accepted the P3 million) and pressure him to prove in one way or another his allegation to the public. And though we have never seen yet Bolante’s complete list, with Congressman’s Solis affirmation that he received the P3 million, he already proved to us that he is on the list.

The public has the right to speculate when their public servants are again involved in such a mess. Let’s forget the real poor farmers, but why for example give the whole of this P3 million to Mayor Helen De Castro and not equally divide it to the other Sorsogon mayors? This act alone is already unfair (poor other mayors!). Is Mayor De Castro his padaba (favorite) or he is just using her as a scapegoat? Is this a politically- motivated scenario? …

To assert something without a proof is something that is unethical, or even if you know that there is no such thing anymore as ethics in our political system, you should still avoid giving out such an allegation in a press conference. Congressman  Jose G. Solis should put things in their proper places. We demand that he explains his case to the people of Bulan! But one thing is already clear to the public: If he couldn’t provide solid evidence to his allegation then his argument is not valid and that he is solely responsible for the missing P3million.

Again, this is the result of the logic of greed  among our public servants. Very unpleasant and primitive, indeed. Remember our poor and honest boy Gangga who taught us “Never To Own Anything That’s Not Ours”? Our poor farmers are proud that they did not receive such rotten fertilizers! Mabuhay ang ating mga mag-sasaka sa Bulan! (More power to the real farmers of Bulan!)


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


Related News article::


MANILA, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 (STAR) By Jess Diaz –

Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla and former undersecretary Jocelyn ‘Jocjoc’ Bolante take their oath during yesterday’s House hearing on the fertilizer fund scam. BOY SANTOS Former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante said a total of 159 members of the House of Representatives and local officials received their share of the P728-million fertilizer fund.
Bolante told the House agriculture committee chaired by Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra that of the 181 fertilizer fund “proponents” he listed, only 22 did not avail themselves of the P3-million to P5-million allocations he gave them.
Bolante said he could not identify the 22 who did not get their allocations and the 159 who received funds or fertilizer.
He said the Commission on Audit (COA) should be able to identify the supposed recipients.
Bolante listed 105 congressmen, 52 governors, one vice governor and 23 town mayors as fertilizer fund proponents.
The list was part of his request for the release of P728 million in fertilizer funds. He sent the request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Feb. 2, 2004, three months before the May presidential election.
The following day, Feb. 3, with uncharacteristic speed, the DBM released the funds Bolante requested. Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos signed the document releasing the money.
Several House members admitted receiving fertilizer and not cash from either the DA or Bolante. Others denied getting money or fertilizer.
In yesterday’s hearing, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, who represents the third district of Iloilo, said he rejected the P5 million offered to him by a certain “Aytona.”
“I told her I was not interested and that she could talk to my mayors and see if they were interested in liquid fertilizer,” he said.
Defensor said he learned later that some of his mayors received liquid fertilizer.
Camarines Sur Rep. Felix Alfelor had the same story.
Alfelor said he told Bolante’s alleged agents to approach his mayors.
Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita, for his part, admitted receiving a fertilizer fund allocation, which he claimed was used to buy garbage shredders.
La Union Rep. Victor Ortega said he and his brother, Gov. Manuel Ortega, did not receive cash or fertilizer despite the fact that they were included in Bolante’s list of proponents.
For her part, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales told the hearing that her father-in-law, former governor Vicente Magsaysay, was not able to get his supposed P5-million allocation.
However, House members who denied receiving cash or fertilizer in yesterday’s hearing did not ask Bolante why their names were in his list in the first place.
Former Lanao del Norte Rep. Alipio Badelles wrote the committee that he was in Bolante’s list but did not get his allotment.
Others who have denied receiving cash or fertilizer include Representatives Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas and Teodoro Locsin Jr. of Makati City, and former Quezon City representative Maite Defensor.
Quezon City Rep. Nanette Daza admitted availing herself of her P3-million allocation, which she said was used to buy garbage shredders for the Payatas dumpsite.
Speaker Prospero Nograles has admitted receiving fertilizer and not cash, and from the DA regional office in Davao, not from Bolante.
Bolante reiterated his testimony in the Senate that President Arroyo had no knowledge of the release and use of the P728 million.
He repeated his assertion that “there was no fertilizer scam” despite COA findings that there was “excessive overpricing” of the liquid fertilizer purchased by Bolante’s proponents.
In some areas, the overprice exceeded 1,200 percent, according to the COA report.
Auditors discovered that many of the lawmaker-proponents were involved in the use of their funds as evidenced by the memorandums of agreement between them and foundations they tasked to purchase liquid fertilizer.
They said House members in Bolante’s list received a total of P404 million.
In his testimony, Bolante also cleared Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap of involvement in the scam. Yap was undersecretary for operations in 2004.
Bolante said he never mentioned Yap’s name in the course of last Thursday’s Senate hearing on the fertilizer scam.
He said it was then Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who identified Yap as DA undersecretary for operations for Luzon in 2004.
Bolante had told senators that he could not have known the anomalies in the use of fertilizer funds since he had resigned shortly after distributing the money.
He said the undersecretary for operations was the DA official who should have monitored the use of the funds.
Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel told Bolante that he is insulting Filipinos by insisting that the President was not aware of the release of hundreds of millions in fertilizer funds and in asserting that there was no scam.
“You are insulting the public with your ridiculous assertions,” she said.
Bolante replied by saying that he respects Hontiveros’ opinion.
“I will appreciate it if you can prove that what I’m saying is not true,” he said.
For his part, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla said his province received its share of P5 million in fertilizer money in 2004.
But what is mysterious is that no Nueva Vizcaya official is listed as a proponent in Bolante’s list, he said.
Padilla said it is possible that the amount his province received “came from sources other than the P728 million.”
Padilla reiterated his proposal for the Mitra committee to inquire into the total 2004 releases amounting to nearly P3 billion.
Meanwhile, Owen Bolante urged the Court of Appeals (CA) to allow his father to be placed under house arrest instead of the Senate’s custody pending decision on the habeas corpus petition before the appellate court.
AccordingtoNoel Malaya, Owen had also submitted a compliance certificate to the CA from his father’s doctor indicating his father was indeed confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8.
The certificate also stated that the elder Bolante underwent medical examinations. The results were also submitted to the CA, Malaya said.
The younger Bolante filed a petition for habeas corpus on Nov. 5 questioning the custody of the Senate of his father.
Two days later, the CA ordered Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia to reply to Bolante’s petition.
The CA also ordered Owen to secure a medical certificate from St. Luke’s to support allegations of ill health.
Bolante’s lawyer Dennis Añover explained the writ of habeas corpus is a legal remedy questioning the legal basis of Bolante’s detention by the Senate. -With Mike Frialde

A Transcendental White House

Obama, Or the Clash Of Ideas, Not Of Emotions Or Races

The Obama effect on me was that sigh of relief the day he won this historic election. Think about the real significance of this event for the black race as well as for the white and all other colors in between. For the Afro-Americans, a historic triumph with effect comparable only to that of Abrahan Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1863, which is not to be confused with Britain’s The Emancipation Act on August 1, 1834, which did not abolish servitude, but the first significant promise of freedom. 

 But this time with Obama, this is the realization of the great black dream to be set on equal footing with the white-their former master-, a dream expressed by Martin Luther King in his famous speech I HAVE A DREAM delivered on August 28,1963. This dream was more of a vision. For not far away- just two years earlier-on August 4, 1961- Obama was born to give a concrete form to this dream 45 years later which for the blacks almost an elusive dream even a few moments before he was declared the election winner last November 4. Now it’s reality; Obama becomes the first elected black President. Racial barrier to White House has been crossed, broken down. For Obama it was everything but an easy task. It took hard work and fluid intelligence for Obama from the very beginning to this symbolic victory. A graduate from the Harvard Law School, it is his education, not only emotion and passion, that brought that needed Liberation of the black Americans. Education as light of the people- this was probably what Rizal had in mind when he wrote this line, or when he was in America as he described what he saw in this country in his letter to Mariano Ponce on July 27, 1888, (25 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation) :

  “I visited the largest cities of America with their big buildings, electric lights, and magnificent conceptions. Undoubtedly America is a great country, but it still has many defects. There is no real civil liberty. In some states, the Negro cannot marry a white woman, nor a Negress a white man. Because of their hatred for the Chinese, other Asiatics, like the Japanese, being confused with them, are likewise disliked by the ignorant Americans. The Customs are excessively strict. However, as they say rightly, American offers a home too for the poor who like to work. There was, moreover, much arbitrariness. For example, when we were in quarantine.
They placed us under quarantine, in spite of the clearance given by the American Consul, of not having had a single case of illness aboard, and of the telegram of the governor of Hong Kong declaring that port free from epidemic.
We were quarantined because there were on board 800 Chinese and, as elections were being held in San Francisco, the government wanted to boast that it was taking strict measures against the Chinese to win votes and the people’s sympathy. We were informed of the quarantine verbally, without specific duration. However, on the same day of our arrival, they unloaded 700 bales of silk without fumigating them; the ship’s doctor went ashore; many customs employees and an American doctor from the hospital for cholera victims came on board.
Thus we were quarantined for about thirteen days. Afterwards, passengers of the first class were allowed to land; the Japanese and Chinese in the 2nd and 3rd classes remained in quarantine for an indefinite period. It is thus in that way, they got rid of about 200  ( or 643 coolies, according to Zaide ) Chinese, letting them gradually off board.”

So was Rizal’s taste of discrimination in the USA, a traumatic one for sure. Luckily Rizal was traveling first class- as implied in this letter- otherwise he would had been quarantined for an indefinite period and this could have changed the course of Philippine History!

Both American and British Emancipation Acts, the latter predating the former for 31 years, did not totally abolish racial discrimination and slavery, The Afro Americans though released from slavery, suffered more than a hundred years after the signing of that Emancipation Proclamation with limited civil liberties (no right of suffrage being black and being a woman, for instance),  while the more than half a million slaves in Britain’s Caribbean colonies had to wait for another four years for the most elementary liberties for the government feared that the situation would be out of control while the plantation owners feared the economy would collapse as forced labor would no longer be available. This is important to know because presently our Philippine government’s labour export policy is not genuinely based on goodwill but of fear that abolishing the OFW would only lead to our economic collapse, a fear secretly shared among our national politicians, revealed in a slip of the tongue that happened to Arroyo last 2001 in Singapore. Slave trading  being conducted in a more modern form, transported in modern vessels, revenues electronically transmitted? This is in no way to insult the OFWs but to view this phenomenon as a living proof of our government’s inefficiency and seemingly callous attitude towards its people. A government with vision works hard to keep its people at home or  to bring home those people away from home- like what South Korea did to its workers abroad. All I know is that Filipino oversea workers are driven home from time to time only because of their families and relatives, not because of their government and public officials. In truth, Filipinos abroad would never go back home because of Arroyo and Co. And even in their own host countries, they’re just ashamed to talk about our politics and political figures.

The election of Obama proved once again that with all its defects, America is still a democratic country whose face is changing with time, adapting to the challenges of all kinds in order to survive. Millions of young white American voters have opened their eyes and seen that it’s no longer sustainable to be just conservative for conservatism’s sake  and be against anyone for reason of skin color. Arguments and solutions count, not  skin color. Obama is the most palpable proof of change in the American perception. And Obama broke all the records and brought a quantum of solace for millions of Americans- and billions of people around the world. After all the paranoia brought about by the traumatic events that happened the world over in the past decades and the over-all negative effects of the unpopular Bush’s administration, it is interesting to observe that humanity did not fall into apathy and total disillusion. The way that the world favored Obama  in all the continents and reacted with euphoria and sense of release is a sign of good mental health for the world population. The archetypal need for a good and unifying leader, in short, for a hero, is still intact. On this historic day, not only the American voters, but the whole world voted for a hero, not only for an ordinary president. This explains the electricity of how the world citizens reacted to Obama’s election. In fact, if the world were allowed to cast  their votes, the results would have been more catastrophic and depressing for McCain! It’s good to know that the majority likes you. And Obama reacted just the way a hero is expected to react: a felt sense of tremendous responsibility as seen in Obama’s face and in his words. He did not dance around nor give any grandiose gesture of winning the battle. He was serious in his looks and speech. For him, the battle has just begun. There is no time to celebrate. The financial crisis, the problems at home and the all that mess that Bush has done, the world community- all these require Obama’s attention.

Most of you who are familiar with my little writings here in Bulan Observer would have already noticed that I am for a noble kind of leadership, for a leader who works hard for his/her people and values the unifying power of his/her position as a mayor or whatever, that I have been talking about redefining Bulan politics, that I am for working together as a team if we want Bulan to move forward and that we should transcend political affiliations and personal emotions when it comes to solving the problems of the town. For this reason I call Obama my Obama even if he doesn’t know me. It’s because of the kinship of our basic political ideas and attitude (don’t get me wrong for I am talking only about kinship not of talents for he has more than enough!). Now that he is building up his team, it awes and amazes  me how he approaches his bitter campaign rivals like McCain and Hillary Clinton, etc., asking them or offering them options to work with him. And that after all the mud hurled at him during those long campaigning periods! Obama is a living testimony of a leader who transcends and unites in order to solve the major problems now facing America and the world- and he is a leader who is very transparent in his ideas. This is why I see the White House more transparent and transcendental than ever with Obama moving in. And with his wise strategy, I think Obama is already ripe for his second term- even before his first term has ever started!

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.

For A brighter Bulan!

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

A Pair Of Shining Shoes Made In Marikina

You still remember that while the City Mayors (organizer of the World Mayor Award) was looking for the Top 11 Mayors around the world last 2007, we found our town Bulan wrestling with the Central Bus Terminal-or CBT Scandal. Whatever happened now to this CBT case, we are practically no longer  interested with it as long as our Mayor Helen De Castro does not forget her responsibilities to our town and to our town people, not falling short in delivering the basic services and is sincerely concerned in providing adequate solutions to the immediate problems of Bulan community like unemployment, poverty (malnutrition), health care (hospital and medical personnel!), environmental protection and cleanliness (waste management), education (schoolrooms, more teachers, school dropouts), clean water supply, peace and security- and, last but not least, to inform the public (local, national and international) about the result of the CBT trial.

Practically, what counts are good results and all other minor failures in the past are forgotten. Most of all, she should focus, emphasize and make use of the unifying symbol of her office, a function of supreme importance in activating the identity and creative energy of Tagabulans. A symbol like this needs to be transparent and accountable for it to enter people’s perception, i.e., be processed as such. Investing in such values as transparency, accountability and corruption-free leadership pay off in the end for everybody than investing in their opposites. And this is the proof of it- a pair of shining shoes from Marikina that caught the attention of the world!- a pair of shoes worn by the lady Mayor Marides Fernando of Marikina City for winning 7th place in the World Mayor Award 2008 (launched by City Mayors last 2004 ). This is no joke. Here’ the reason for this prestigious recognition:

-“Mayor Fernando is credited with having turned Marikina into one of the Philippines most desirable places to live in. “Mayor Marides Fernando transformed MarikinaCity from a sleepy and lackluster town (always in the shadow of its bigger sister city Quezon City) into one of the most progressive and shining city in the Philippines. With the Mayor’s creative leadership by example, Marikina is the most peaceful, most orderly, cleanest, greenest, corruption free, educated and cultured new city in Asia.”

-“Under Marides Fernando leadership Marikina was named the “greenest and cleanest city” in the Philippines. The city also received a number of other awards: “The most recent and most prestigious award received the city of Marikina was the Most Competitive Metro City in the Philippines from the prestigious Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Research Center, Asia Foundation, International Labour Organization (ILO), German Technical Foundation, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the Continuing Excellence Award in Local Governance given by the Galing Pook Foundation, DILG, Local Government Authority and the Ford ” . (See other comments given out by some observers of Marikina.)

“Marides Carlos Fernando (sometimes known as MCF) was elected mayor of Marikina City in 2001 and re-elected in 2004 and 2007, is a member of the centre-right Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party of President Gloria Arroyo. She is married to Bayani (“hero”) Fernando (also known as BF), her immediate predecessor as mayor and current Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (himself the son of a former mayor) and Director of the Department of Public Works and Highways in the capital. Marides ran the BF Corporation of property developers during her husband’s three-term tenure as mayor (1992-2001), serving as vice president for admin and finance since 1985. In January 2008, BF announced his candidacy for the 2010 presidential elections.” (Source: Tann vom Hove, Editor, World Mayor) 

This years World Mayor Award went to Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town. Here’s one of the many comments about her and her team:
“Helen Zille and her team have brought stability, decency, integrity and good management to the City of Cape Town after many years of ANC mismanagement, corruption and lethargy. She has done a brilliant job of turning things around in the face of thwarted and hostile forces. A deserving winner of this prestigious award.” (Source: Tann vom Hove, Editor, World Mayor) 

Indeed, it’s wiser for a mayor to invest in stability, decency, integrity and good management than mismanagement, corruption and lethargy!

For these reasons, I’m proud to see Mayor Marides (Marikina, 7th place) on the list beside Helen Zille(Capetown) and Elmar Ledergerber (Zürich)! I know Ledergerber very well and I can only agree to the comments and praises given to him by people of Zürich, like:

“Mayor Ledergerber is often described as a bridge builder between the city’s Swiss nationals and immigrants as well as between the well-off and the less wealthy residents of Zurich. “Elmar Ledergerber has the unique capability to integrate the diverse political interests of the rich banks and the ordinary citizens, and achieve consensus on a good balance between moderate taxes and responsible spending for social welfare.”

“During Elmar Ledergerber’s leadership, Zurich has several times been named as the most liveable city in the world: “After a large period of decline, Zurich is now vibrant again – not only has it been rated number one for quality of living for several years now, but it is now developing further. Mr Ledergerber is a major driving force behind the redevelopment of Zurich-West, the expansion of public transport, the re-discovery of urban recreational space… I have been living in Zurich for 4 years now and he is definitely my choice for world mayor.”

The mayor is also praised for staying in touch with ordinary people: “Elmar Ledergerberis smart and articulate, he listens to the people, in fact he is very approachable and friendly, has an excellent way to communicate and explain his visions yet with the right amount of tenacity to get them into reality. Zurich is a wonderful town with an outstanding quality of life – and this also thanks to our Mayor Ledergerber who has significantly contributed to this success over the years.” (Source: Tann vom Hove, Editor, World Mayor)

Sadly, he recently announced his resignation in 2009. People don’t want him to go. But listen to his reason: “My 16-year old son needs me urgently now”. Also a very noble reason, isn’t? So people understand him.

“Born in 1944, Elmar Ledergerber has a degree in history and literature as well as in economics. He obtained his PhD in economics at the university of St Gallen. In 1977 he established a consulting firm, which he managed for more than 20 years. He was elected mayor of Zurich in March 2002. Before that he had been active in Zurich politics and nationally, as a parliamentarian.The mayor leads a city council, which consists of nine members from four political parties. He is divorced and a father of three. His youngest son is almost 16.” (source: swiss-info)

I even played with the idea that if it were not for the dramatic political backround in Capetown  where Mayor Helen Zille works and achieved good results, Mayor Ledergerber would have won the first place for reasons cited and for his simplicity.

Why publish such things here in Bulan Observer? Well, I think we need to learn some lessons we could use in our journey to a better Bulan if we ever want to continue with it. Success needs both- a good leader and responsible constituents. In a city like Zürich with intelligent and highly responsible and educated population, a good leader is still indispensable. How much more in a developing town like Bulan? For a brighter Bulan now and in the future, we need these lessons.

Finally, Bulan Observer congratulates Mayor Marides Fernando for her exemplary achievements!

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


Press Release

By  Tonyboy ( PIO, LGU-Bulan)

Bulan, Sorsogon – October is declared as the Month in honoring the Elderly, and the Bulan Senior Citizens, responding to the call for activeliness in community undertaking, came in big numbers representing various Senior Citizens’ groups.

The Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), headed by former Councilor Joe Tan, under the supervision of the MSWDO and the Office of the Mayor, prepared several activities for the Month for Elders. It was also supported by various Senior Citizen Organizations like the BASCA, headed by Mr. Jose Jolloso, Veterans Post-Bulan Chapter, headed by Mr. Florentino Loilo, GRETA under Mrs. Benita Guan and the FSCAP under the leadership of Mrs. Nelly Diesta. This year’s theme is “Mga Senior Citizens, puwede pa makadanon sa pag-unhan san Bulan” (Senior Citizens, contributors to Bulan’s progress).

On October 4, during the Fiesta sa Kabubudlan, the elderly came and joined the Tree Planting activities at the Eco park.

On October 6, 800 undernourished children were attended to by the elders as they conducted a feeding program at the Bulan Freedom Park.

On October 11, the Bulan Lions Club helped in ECG examinations for the elderly at the Pawa Hospital.

On October 14, some 800 elderly came for the medical and dental activities intended for them at the Sabang Park, sponsored by the LGU. Mayor Helen De Castro, in a gesture of goodwill, also provided snacks for all of them. Present to extend medical assistance were Dr. Ludovic Tan, Dr. Tita Fe Palad, Dr. San Jose, Dr. James Apin, Dr. Estrella Payoyo, Dr. Kates Rebustillo and Councilor-dentist Jolife Dellomas, Dr. Visconde and Dr. Marilou Jimenez. The Bulan Rural Health Unit also assisted.

During the Culminating Activity on October 18, a HATAW physical exercises were rendered by the Senior Citizen. It was lead by Mrs. Anilin Diaz. Also present during the program, were Mayor Baby De Castro, Kgd. Dondon De Castro, Kgd. Joey Guban, Kgd. Goto Geronga and Kgd. Jolife Dellomas.

Mayor Helen De Castro has been greatly supportive of the senior citizen sector, especially thru the OSCA. (PIO, LGU-Bulan)

From Mayor’s 2007 Report to the People of Bulan, 2008/10/23 at 5:46 AM

Two-Edged Swords

by jun asuncion

( My reaction to rudybellens interesting contribution ” Lessons We Should have Learned…)

This situation analysis about Taiwan and the Philippines boils down to the most basic fundamentals again that we have been talking about: education and character, with all its strengths and weaknesses. To illustrate this I quote hereunder salient portion of rudybellen’s report:

“The Philippines still has an edge in being an English speaking-country and in having many natural resources, unlike Taiwan that only has its people as resource. However, its sole wealth in people, enabled Taiwan to tap its greatest potential in developing high-technology industries. ITRI, an agency with more than 5,000 researchers and more than 1,000 Ph.Ds, has enabled the spin-off of many technology companies.”

Taiwan has a high quality educational system as we have seen in PISA results. Wealth is a matter of quality not of quantity. Quantity-wise, we are richer than Taiwan in terms population, about 23 million (Taiwan) vs. about 90 million (Philippines). But this “wealth” of ours is more of liabilities than assets when it’s not educated in the modern sense as Taiwan; Taiwanese are highly educated and this is the big difference. The other thing that contributes to their success is their character. The Taiwanese engineers and scientists trained in Silicon Valley in the 80’s and 90’s returned to their small country and helped boost its economy in the succeeding years. This is loyalty and patriotism, a character trait that seems to be strongly anchored among the Taiwanese.

The Philippines’ claim of having an edge being an English speaking-country is a farce, outdated in my view for it did not/doesn’t contribute substantially to the country’s economic progress. We were made to believe by the American colonizers that by adopting their language and lifestyle we would boost our economy, i.e. get rich. The fact is that many countries that are rich and successful are not English-speaking ones,-Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and many more. The Philippines learned English early yet remained poor until now. So where is this edge? These countries acquired English much later but now they write and speak much better than most of us; they have learned their lessons well, thanks to their better equipped teachers and schoolrooms.

It is not to be disputed that the Philippines is endowed with rich natural resources compared to Taiwan, that in fact our wealth is still not fully tapped and converted to economic wealth yet -though we have already ravaged our ecosystem to a greater extent due to ignorance, greed and lack of political foresight. This is sad but I believe that there is still much left to be saved and recovered for us now and for the next generations. Let us not be pessimistic about our environment for in the long run it’s not we human beings that shape nature, but nature us human beings. Naturally we have to maintain our immediate environment clean (less pollution) if we want to survive and harvest something from it or else commit a planetary suicide.

This is an option left for us to decide. But such things as global warming and climate change, etc. are nothing new in the history of our planet and solar system. Central Europe was not always a temperate zone; hundreds of thousand years ago it was a tropical region with corresponding flora and fauna; there used to be palm trees like coconuts in Luzern for instance during those times. Glacial ice melted here and there millions of years before the invention of cars and Al Gore’s birth. Behind man’s exaggeration and hysteria about the climate is his belief that he is the center of all things and thus being in control of the world. Our realistic responsibility is to keep our surrounding clean and productive, nothing more. The universe takes control of the whole- even us little creatures.

How are we related to cows and milk? Well, they reveal a lot about our weaknesses and strengths. I do not mean the strength you get from drinking fresh cow’s milk every morning nor the weakness from the lack of milk, but about our political will and character.

To quote again rudybellen’s report to us:

“A foremost backer of a strong dairy industry was former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani, who launched her White Revolution years ago to bring in Indian cows and bulls to propagate higher yields of milk and meat in the country. The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) also developed in vitro fertilization (IVF) to propagate better breeds, including some from Hungary, to increase the number of livestock for milk production. Dairy farmers have complained that there is little incentive for milk production even though there are large pasture areas in the country that have not been adequately exploited”.

You see clearly that it’s not the lack of brains in our country but the lack of political will to continue something good that has been started like this White Revolution launched by Senator Shahani. Mr. Ningas Cogon and Mrs. Crab Mentality are names that dominate the government’s payroll. They are the enemies of our economy for they come only to search and destroy, instead of to search and preserve or further develop. These large pasture areas in the country have been adequately exploited not for the dairy industry but for residential subdivisions, an example of those projects that are a two-edged sword for though they create, they destroy much more than what was created.

There are other solutions to solving the housing problems of a growing population. First, control the population, and second, design housing structures vertically, not horizontally. We know that global food crises come and go- only to come again. We are experiencing it at the moment. Yet I have never heard until now of such problem as global housing crisis where countless people die in a short period of time. There is always a way to find a little corner to sleep or a roof when it rains- and survive. To find food however is too difficult when every inch of the land has been cemented; you would survive after you have eaten your grass-deprived cow or goat, but not long.

We should therefore be avoiding converting vast areas of lands for housing purposes but should preserve them for our cows, rice and grass. Building subdivisions is destroying the economy and landscape and investing huge money in an economically poor project; it has zero-returns for the whole country and other related industries, hence a passive investment. The land should produce crops and offer living space for productive animals.

In the same manner that two-edged swords destroy our economy, death penalty in Saudi Arabia destroys heads every week in public squares. An Erap head should have rolled all along the Edsa Highway, instead of being house arrested with all the luxuries of a first class prison and getting pardoned in the end by an egoistic Arroyo. Death penalty is a tool that I think is reserved only for a very just government where, to quote rudybellen “we only need to implement the law rationally”, and justice for all- if I may add something to it. We have already seen in Arroyo’s action that such death penalty is also a farce in a corrupted political and legal system. Where money and power rule, death penalty is a joke for the rich and powerful criminals but of course feared like hell by smaller criminals.

Have you ever heard or- in case you are an OFW in Saudi Arabia- seen an Arabian Prince or influential public official hanged in those many execution squares in Saudi Arabia on charges of corruption? Saudi Arabian politics is unequalled in bribery and corruption- even before they discovered their oil. It is often called as the Kingdom Of Corruption- and it has the most advanced and active death penalty of the world!

Death penalty in this country is a tool used by corrupt officials to protect their status quo by propagating fear (deterrence) among the little people, but not to stop corruption itself. Take note also that countries with less or no grand scale corruption are countries without death penalty in their legal system – with the exception of the Philippines. In a public act (display) Arroyo aborted death penalty in our country yet her term has the highest record of extra-judicial killings. Whatever the motives behind these two events, and whether there is relationship, is open for interpretation. This is my observation.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

Lessons That We Should Have Learned Long Time Ago…

from rudybellen


On Technology Development :

The research agency that virtually turned Taiwan around from an agrarian to an industrialized economy suggests that the Philippines should put up a similar agency that can get technologies take off from the shelves. The Philippines may derive a model from Taiwan in having established in 1973 the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which widely bridged the gap needed in technology commercialization.

ITRI told a Congressional Commission on Science, Technology, and Engineering (Comste) forum that the US technology model (of the academe collaborating with industries) may not work in Asian countries like Taiwan and the Philippines. But the ITRI model may work too for the country as much as it did in Taiwan. US companies are very big and have the capability to do research through links with the university. ITRI is like something in between to get the universities to work with industries. Such institution, should be run like a private enterprise, although it may receive seed money from government.

Comste said that government has been studying the setting up of an institution that will enable the country to develop niche products that have high commercial potential. And ITRI may just lead the way. We may set up an R&D institute that’s partly government and partly private. This may need legislation. The role of government is basically to set incentives, maybe give some grants, some tax breaks. Essential to making research institutions meet private enterprises’ needs for technology is a law that allows government-funded R&D works to be owned and patented by researchers themselves. Comste said that to start off with a similar ITRI agency, government may pass a law converting the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) into a profit-earning corporation. ASTI at present is one of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DoST) seven-research institutes. While earning a small profit, ASTI remits much of its earnings to government. In my own personal view, I would probably start small and consider ASTI which is now focused on ICT (Information Communication Technology) and electronics to “corporatize”. Their mandate can cover many areas, not only ICT. Because it is advanced science and technology, it can also be on biotechnology and nano technology.

As Taiwan has been beefing up its R&D budget, which is now approaching three percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the country should devote more budgets for this from its present minuscule 0.12 percent of GDP, many times less than that of Taiwan, a lot smaller country of 23 million people, in the 1950s-1960s, the Philippines had a higher per capita income. Taiwan with its investments in R&D, ninth biggest in the world, has experienced an economic miracle that has made it sixteenth in rank in global trade and foreign exchange reserve fifth in the world. The Philippines still has an edge in being an English speaking-country and in having many natural resources, unlike Taiwan that only has its people as resource. However, its sole wealth in people, enabled Taiwan to tap its greatest potential in developing high-technology industries. ITRI, an agency with more than 5,000 researchers and more than 1,000 Ph.Ds, has enabled the spin-off of many technology companies.

The emergence of world’s biggest wafer foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.,
is partly attributed to it. ITRI has invested more and has helped growth and birth of 255 companies under its Open Lab. These are Taiwan’s world market share in technology products: soho router, 93 percent; WLAN, 90 percent; Ethernet LAN switch, 84 percent; and cable CPE, 80 percent.

On Melamine Scare : Gov’t should strengthen dairy industry

The global impact of the melamine scare should push the government to reexamine its dairy program and accelerate its milk self-sufficiency target, which is originally set for 2018. The National Dairy Authority (NDA) set 2018 as the target for 100 percent milk sufficiency even as the discovery that large inventories of milk produced in China were laced with melamine, a chemical ingredient in the manufacture of plastics, has cast doubts on the integrity of imported milk. NDA is targeting to secure 11,000 dairy cattle in the next five years in its bid to raise production to 63 million kilos of milk yearly.Total national production is only five percent of demand, and the country’s entire population of milking cows is a pittance at 15,000 head. The annual production, mostly from cooperatives, is only 13 million kilos, while a big Thai dairy cooperative produces one million kilos a day.

A foremost backer of a strong dairy industry was former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani, who launched her White Revolution years ago to bring in Indian cows and bulls to propagate higher yields of milk and meat in the country. The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) also developed in vitro fertilization (IVF) to propagate better breeds, including some from Hungary, to increase the number of livestock for milk production. Dairy farmers have complained that there is little incentive for milk production even though there are large pasture areas in the country that have not been adequately exploited.

Industry players have said milking cows could increase milk production by consuming moringa or malunggay leaves, as proven by the experience of Nicaraguan farmers who secured an increase in milk by 45 percent. Malunggay could be intercropped with fruit-bearing trees to ensure that farmers would earn more. Experts said that with enough malunggay in pasture areas and with abundant grass sufficient for 10 cows per hectare, milk production could increase significantly.Some enterprising dairy farmers have proven that with enough pasture land; a cow can produce 15 liters of milk a day. More pregnant cows mean more milk, and cows can produce milk from seven to 10 years. They give birth on the eighth month and can get pregnant again after three months. Experts said small farmers all over the country could participate in the dairy improvement program through proper training and education on the long-term benefits of milk production.

The government needs to invest at least P500 million annually to enhance the local dairy industry’s capacity to produce milk and help lessen the country’s dependence on milk imports. The country imports between US$ 500 million to US$ 600 million or P25 billion worth of milk and other milk products annually. About 99 percent of milk and dairy products available in the Philippine market is imported, while only one percent is produced locally.The country’s dependence on imported milk and milk products makes the country vulnerable to the entry of toxic food products. Should the government “diversify” its focus and invest in the local dairy industry’s capacity to produce milk, the country could ensure the safety of dairy products in the market. The annual investment, will cover the importation of milk producing animals such as cows, which is estimated to cost P70,000 per head. The P500 million per year investment can easily be recovered by lessening the country’s spending on imported milk. Only a small portion of the Department of Agriculture’s budget is allotted to the local dairy industry, with the bulk of expenditures focused on rice sufficiency and operating expenses. Food security advocates, on the other hand, said the influx of contaminated food into the country could be traced to the Philippines’ trade policies. According to the Task Force Food Sovereignty, the trade liberalization strategy adopted in the early 1980s has caused the “inevitable toxic food dumping” at present.

Of Greener Pastures, Brain Drains and Headhunters

 (A response to J.A. Carizo’s comment on A Lesson from From Shamans…)

Colonization actually started also with the dream of greener pasture which, as in the case of Spain, not really to spread Christianity and glorify their God and His Ten Commandments like Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall love thy neighbor etc. , for in fact they came in search of resources and employment and, worse, conquered, enslaved the natives, murdered and looted the whole Philippine archipelago. In the Philippines alone, colonization provided jobs for tens of thousands-perhaps millions- of Spaniards at that time in the Philippines and surely substantially increased Spain’s GDP during this pillage that lasted for 333 years. How about if you add to that the colonized South American countries? You may recall the Galleon Trades en route Mexico-Manila-Spain resulting to sinking some of these ships for being overloaded with golds, silver, goods and slaves. Some treasure hunters are still on the way mapping out the oceans with the hope of locating these lost  cargo ships. Now, we may just say it was the past and we just happened to be one of those unlucky nations that fell into the hands of those European colonizers. Some European friends of mine also admit that they were the ones who started the troubles in this world. It was painful for the colonized, glorifying for the colonizers. But from today’s modern perspective, for the former colonizers, what they did was a shame and source of remorse, for the former colonized ones, it was the birth of nationalism and authentic heroism, in short, a source of pride. You see, how situations and meanings change with time, true to the maxim that time heals if you were the victim, time injures if you were the perpetrator. In other words, time brings justice. From the modern, civilized, humanistic perspective, the Philippines is a proud nation for it has a clear conscience unlike Japan, Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain and America who unti now suffer from this collective guilt and in some cases have to pay reparation fees.Viewed against this context, we can shout  with clear conscience to the whole world “Mabuhay Ang Pilipino!”.

However, we now can comfort ourselves with the idea that the Spanish colonizers’ landing on the shores of Mactan was far from being an exact planning. The work of Professors Feyrer and Sacerdote of Darmouth College showed that it was wind direction and speed which decided where Europeans settled first and not by cherry-picking, i.e. choosing consciously better islands to settle. In short, by chance. Good or bad luck for us, you may say, for in truth colonization had both its negative and positive sides. Spain helped accelerate our development in many areas like education, arts, literature, sciences, engineering, architecture, nation building and -whether you like it or not-religion and Catholicism; they planned and built our cities, towns, universities, hospitals (and churches!) etc. The same with our American and Japanese colonial periods; they also contributed to the development of these areas mentioned. In effect, it has united us as one people, gave birth to nationalism, provided the platform for the development and cultivation of the Filipino mind and stimulated our political consciousness. We are all familiar with the negative sides of colonization so it’s about time we talk about its positive sides and use these with our modern insights to help us overcome those negative ones for as a nation we cannot afford to linger forever in the past and keep romanticising the pains of colonialism; we have to move forward.

Translated into our Bulan politics, we should act in such a way as to help those people in our municipal government be aware of their own good sides and good intentions so that they’ll think and act accordingly resulting to positive achievements for the town. This is what I mean by redefining many things in Bulan. We have been acting and behaving for ages according to the old definitions we carry in our subconscious that’s why we never move forward. We have to define our politics anew if we want progress: For the politician or politician-to be, think of how you can enrich your town while in office or if elected; for the political opponents including their supporters who lost the election, think also of how you can help those elected enrich the town. Fair play and teamwork is needed for the town to grow. This is simple but hard to do for this means transcending the ego for a higher end. This is difficult for it goes against the natural man in us and requires a civilized step we call reflection. Not transcending selfish motives and hate means staying by the old definition of politics and therefore against the idea of Bulan moving forward. The mayor should respect her office and use it to motivate and unify our people and act according to our new definitions of things in Bulan. This is the only way for Bulan to move to the next form.

You have mentioned OFW. The same way that Spain suffered a big outflow of human capital at that time the problem of human capital flight in the Philippines is as old as our colonial history itself. Think of the years spent by Rizal, Luna, Hidalgo, etc. outside the Philippines during their most productive years. Brain drain, originally coined by the Royal Society to describe the emigration of scientists and technologists to North America from post-war Europe, is not a new phenomenon and familiar causes of emigration are conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, etc. -reasons also known to Rizal in his time. But we should not forget that it was not one sided at that time. Our country profited during that time also from  a huge in-flow of human capital or brain gain; educated European brains settled in our country and improved our GDP by bringing with them their knowledge and skills we never had before they came. Actually it was the colonizing-and later the war-torn Europe- that first suffered from brain drain. The families and relatives of the OSW, or Oversea Spanish Workers, knew already long ago the sentiments we Filipinos are experiencing now with our own OFW. Actually, brain drain in the Philippines started in the 1970’s due to the government’s adoption of international contract work known thereafter to us as Oversea Contract Workers whose first wave landed mostly in Saudi Arabia and in other Southeast Asian countries as well. There are by now around 8 million Filipinos working abroad (more than the population of Austria, Finland and Switzerland) and last year they sent home over 10 billion dollars which is about 12% of the country’s GDP. Arroyo’s government is happy about this money that’s why it boasted last July 25 of “coffers with monetary reserves” to face the world’s food and fuel crisis. But this is the hook to it: The lack of nurses and doctors and other medical personnel is continuously damaging the country’s health care system (resulting to closures of hospitals) – this with around 15,000 nurses leaving the country each year.

The problem in our country is that our political and economic situation is only conducive to brain drain but not to brain gain, i.e. in-flow of highly skilled individuals. Many foreigners are hesitant to invest their money, time and knowledge in our country for we do not meet the requirements of these people; it’s unthinkable for instance for European or South Korean nurses and doctors to apply as such in our country. However, brain drain is not only a problem among developing countries, it is a global problem. On the other hand, countries benefiting from brain gain (human capital) and economic gain (financial capital)  are countries that invested and continously invest in education and research and are politically and socially stable ones. A case in point I know so well is Switzerland, one of the best headhunters in the world. This is a place of brain gain from almost every imaginable discipline. I can say with certainty, as an example, that at the moment in history, the best brains of theoretical and astrophysics are gathered in Geneva working for CERN’s recently opened Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator. Whereas, to talk about headhunting in the Philippines is still taken literally by many foreign nationals, which understandably triggers fear and flight instinctive reactions in these people.

To qoute J.A. Carizo, “Aren’t the municipality missing guys like you and Atty Benjie and the rest of the Taga-Bulans who are now in Manila and other places living far from your hometown for lack of opportunities?”. Well, Attybenji would somehow find it easy as a lawyer to find a job in Bulan. I could imagine him as practicing lawyer, a competent politician or as a legal counselor to our mayor, for instance. But for a clinical psychologist, I think it woudn’t be easy to find clients in Bulan, a psychiatric hospital or a psychological clinic/research institute. Or, am I mistaken? I stand to be updated here!


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer