A vote for our future

Come clean, Duterte

by jun asuncion

The Filipinos should vote the presidential candidate who has a platform that is built upon the good works of his predecessor, a candidate who is credible and has a flair for statesmanship and a good international image. Above all, he must have a moral ascendancy and incorruptible character. Only then is the next step in building a democratic constitutional state further possible.

Several issues in this ongoing election campaign should be treated with caution:

Fighting corruption is not automatically equal to building  a democratic constitutional state. A candidate should be seen against the totality of his picture, against his personality make up, against his open and hidden track records as well. If  a presidential candidate promises a bloody cleansing of all criminals in the Philippines during the first three months of his term if elected, then, as in the case of Duterte and assuming he could not prove that his undeclared assets of hundreds of millions of pesos were not stolen from the government coffers,  he should  rather start this bloody cleansing in his own household first – with himself and his family.

Duterte, the hambugero and barumbado in his ways – both in words and actions – is the biggest joke in this presidential election. It went well for him in a mayoral format with  his warlord character and hot temper as many other mayors in our country are. However, presidential format is too big for him. it would be a national suicide to elect such a rude candidate. His good achievements in Davao do not in any way  permit him to rule over the entire Philippines for he is a tyrant in character, cloaked as fighter for the rights of common people. He is impulsively unpredictable, no self-control and given to fits of anger, obviously as compensation for his mediocre, if not primitive communication skills. How would you send him to the United Nations or to other countries for diplomatic missions? There he would only talk about raping, killing and barilan (shootings).

A president should show finesse, education and culture and the ability to communicate though fine language, not through primitive gestures, facial grimacing,  gang and gutter language.  On day one in office he would quarrel with Japan, America China and so on. The Philippines would be isolated. He would be a tyrant capitalizing on his fight against corruption and drugs. It needs more than these to be a national leader and a nation builder. Democratic constitutional state would be trampled down if a self-righteous person becomes the chief executive and commander in chief  of the armed forces. He would not solve the problems of the Filipinos; he would be the biggest problem, a national liability, not a national asset.

You may say that he could be a good president, that at last, somebody has arrived in Malacanãng who would fix all our problems of corruption and poverty and  catapult us to a first world nation in Asia. Well, it could be, but this is too good to be true – and our nation is too big to fail again! Hence, avoid the gambling when it comes to the highest office. He could also be the Philippines Kim Jong Un! His records in Davao tell us that he would not freely leave his office but would pass it to Sarah and sons, in effect, building up a new national political dynasty. His undeclared enormous wealth and properties are now robbing him his sleep and his presidential chance. Dirty Harry or Duterte? In any case, come clean, Duterte.

Federalism? Duterte advocates Federalism. Although this may be a good solution to a multi-ethnic nation like the Philippines, the present conditions in the Philippines do not call for a Federalist form of government. Not yet. With such a numerous secessionist movements, rebel groups, still a  weak national  government, economy and armed forces of the Philippines to re-enforce the laws, Federalism could easily slide to separatism, to several states proclaiming their independence -especially Mindanao. Duterte hates Luzon, that is his complex. He dreams for an independent Muslim country called Mindanao with his daughter and sons as rulers.

The next joke in this election is Binay. His main motivation in joining this race for the highest office is to save himself from all the pending cases  of corruption against him.This is a public knowledge. Hence, all of his words and actions during the whole campaign period are worthless. He lacks this moral ascendancy and credibility as a person and as a politician. Only corrupt people would vote for him. After this election period, the senators should work for his arrest for all his evasion tactics.

Miriam Santiago is a sacrificial pawn in this election. This tandem with Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is inauspicious, and  the most brilliant proof that she’s no longer in command of her senses.

Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is an echo of the past dictatorship. This thankful Marcos, Jr. didn’t know about martial law, conjugal dictatorship, the national plunder committed by his parents, the countless human rights abuses, tampering of the Constitution, liquidation of the opposition, etc. This is a public knowledge, local and international, yet the son  doesn’t know the recent history of the country from which he is  (vote) buying the  vice-presidency. Suffering from amnesia and yet run for vice-presidency? But we all guess that it’s all about indecency in this election for some presidential candidates and supporters alike. But nomen est omen. His defeat lies in his name. The Marcos supporters of today are just like him: People who want to return to the good old days  of politics where they could enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and helpless.

Grace Poe is a trap set by Danding Cojuangco and Joseph Estrada, two old wolves of dirty Philippine politics. Three years only  in senate, a neophyte in looks and in speech, and now wanting to be the commander in chief. Big dream being financed by big dads. She might really have good intentions for her country but she has chosen the wrong people behind.Greed begets greed.

President Aquino may not have been perfect during his term. Six years are too short to fix such a broken and sick country after all those decades of corruption and plundering by public officials. But given such a scope of destruction and short tenure, Pres. Aquino succeeded in laying down a solid foundation for a democratic constitutional state by exemplary leading his Tuwid na Daan (Good governance), of modernizing the armed forces, of elevating the Philippine’s image abroad and its investment status.

It’s just a matter of common sense that the next who should take over his place should be somebody who would continue and further develop this legacy. Another twelve years of continuous good governance would finally upgrade the Philippines’ economic and political landscape and the dream of Federalism would no longer be impossible.

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The sins of corruption of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte:

By Maria Luarca-Reyes

Otilia Olica Gustillo.. an Asuncion

Pre-halloween Spooky Discovery

by budji

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I went to research the paintings in this seminary (please see previous story). There is this very old religious painting, nearly 150 years old, of St. Anthony, The Abbot. This painting is said to be the work of Mariano Asuncion, El Menor (that ‘Junior’ for you 21st century people!) ca. 1865. But the painter’s signature and date cannot easily be seen in this oil-work.
The story of this saint is very interesting, he was born in the 3rd century in Egypt. He decided to become a hermit to devote his time contemplating and praying for God. He gave away his inheritance and as an ascetic, he was tempted for 20 years by the Devil. He was tempted with different forms, afflicting him with diseases, boredom, laziness, even phantoms of women, elementals, scary shadows, poltergeist, etc. One day, as he was always successful with his resistance of all these trials and temptations thru prayers and his faith in God, the devil actually had him beaten by his minions. The poor saint was found nearly dead inside the cave he was living in. In the CIN website here was the story goes: “When he began to come to himself, though not yet able to stand, he cried out to the devils whilst he yet lay on the floor, “Behold! here I am; do all you are able against me: nothing shall ever separate me from Christ my Lord.” Hereupon the fiends appearing again, renewed the attack, and alarmed him with terrible clamors and a variety of specters, in hideous shapes of the most frightful wild beasts, which they assumed. to dismay and terrify him; till a ray of heavenly light breaking in upon him chased them away, and caused him to cry out, “Where wast thou, my Lord and my Master? Why wast thou not here, from the beginning of my conflict, to assuage my pains!” A voice answered: “Anthony, I was here the whole time; I stood by thee, and beheld thy combat: and because thou hast manfully withstood thy enemies, I will always protect thee, and will render thy name famous throughout the earth.” The devil then ceased to tempt he no more. He then established a monastery as his ‘devotees’ had increased. After establishing the monastery he went back to the wilderness. St. Anthony, the Abbot is said to be the Father of Christian Monasticism. (source: Catholic Information Network)

The painting I saw was partly restored yet more has to be done as the back of the canvas was nearly covered in molds. We placed the painting on a chair fronting an open window since we cannot take any photo with flash bulb. We first took a photo of the painting then the back part to document the condition of the canvas. I was interested of the parts where the restoration was done, we then took the photo of the painting with its back on the light-source: daylight.

Now here is the tickler, when we got home to my parents’ house, I showed the photos to my sister, while we were intently looking at the 2nd photo, we noticed that more images of evils, elementals have appeared. And this 2nd picture shows about, as of last count, there are 6 more ‘evil-looking’ entities on the painting. There is even 1 more that seemed to have appeared on the back of the canvas!! From the front the painter has painted 7 including the yellow crocodile and the blond woman. The ‘tikbalang’ is more like a shadow but the figure of a horse still appears. Anyway, we think there are 6 more in the ‘shadows’ plus the one at the back!!

One can only surmise what was going on to the painter while this painting was being painted! That question wasnt raised by me, but of the person very much familiar to the painting. I had the same thought, mind you. If you are not convinced about my ‘superstitious’ findings (and not scholarly, mind you! So I hope I am excused by all scholars and academicians, esp. by my professor) I hope you will indulge me. Its just the ‘gossipy’ side of me thinking of these things.

So judge for yourself! Happy Halloween!

Indonesian Soldiers, be gentlemen, don’t shoot Mary Jane Veloso!

 

 

VelosoYes, you are not at war with Mary Jane Veloso, she is not your enemy! So please don’t shoot somebody who hasn’t killed anybody, who hasn’t hurt anybody and who was not proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. This is unfair to a fragile human who did not commit a crime to humanity to be shot by a handful of men with their rifles. How could you ever overkill a woman like Mary Jane Veloso? This act would be over barbaric! Consider the human in you and the grave insult to all of you soldiers  and to all your Indonesian women if you would shoot a helpless woman and mother of two little boys. veloso sons

Be a fair neighbor, Indonesia. In the Philippines, we try criminals and corrupt politicians, imprison when proven guilty but we don’t kill them by firing squad anymore. A brutal and undifferentiated  justice system wouldn’t sustain a modern society. The death of Mary Jane would only quench the bloody thirst of a few people in Indonesia, but it would never put Indonesia morally forward, Indonesia would never be a wonderful democratic nation after her death or a model of humanity. So don’t pull the triggers, soldiers! Be gentlemen.

I ask President Joko Widodo and the Attorney General  to be  gentle and consider other  civilized punishment than death through firing squad. Likewise, her death would never make you better people and leaders of Indonesia. Respect a mother, don’t kill her. Killing a human being is an insult to all Religions!

Peace be with you- and to Mary Jane Veloso and her family

 

jun asuncion

 

 

Asuncion Clan’s Affair

posted by jun asuncion

The meaning of the Asuncion clan’s surname

asuncion-mariaThe clan’s name comes from the mystery called “La Asuncion De Nuestra Senõra” or the Assumption of our Lady both body and soul to heaven. This mystery express Mary^s indissoluble bond to Christ (John Paul II’s Encyclical Redemption Mater 25-11-1987). We, the Asuncion’s are invited to praise God for the honor and blessings we received; likewise, fulfill with joy our mission in life as we aspire with tender love to bind our relatives forever, overcoming differences so that this tradition of being together may endure through generations.

 Asuncion Clan’s:

Vision: That ike Mary, our lady of the Assumption, we, the Asuncions strive to discover and fulfill with joy our respective mission in life, pray for each other’s sanctification and be channels of grace to others.

Mission: Inspired by Mary, our blessed Mother’s indissoluble to Christ, we are moved to cherish and support one another as we endeavor to praise God and serve others in whatever state of life we are in.

Feast Day: August 15

Color: Blue

Prayer: (by Fr. Raul M. Asuncion, Ph.D.)

” We fly to your patronage O Mary, Nustra Senõra de la Asuncion, so that each one of us and the succeeding generations in the Asuncion clan, may grow in our love for one another by imitating the enduring love of your son, which took you, His Mother, into heaven. May we always be united, striving together for the common good and if need be, sacrificing anything that threatens the special grace of our common ancestry. Through your powerful motherly intercession, may the Lord Jesus Christ hear and answer our petitions. Amen!”

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Group Photos of the Reunion last January 4, 2015

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Happy to be together and talk about plans for the next gathering.

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Jun showing to a relative some possible links as we trace who belongs to whom.

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After the grand reunion, another mini reunion in Sisa’s Secret Resaurant (Laguna) with the descendants of Antonio Asuncion (brother of Justiniano Asuncion, 1816) Dr. Ruben Yatco (seated in front), Christopher Yatco (in red shirt, son of Ruben) and Christine Eustaquio. Christine, the lady in white blouse, is a great, great granddaughter of Romana Asuncion (daughter of Antonio Asuncion and portrayed by Justiniano  who later married a Carillo-Trinidad in Binän, Laguna). Her daughter, PATRICIA PEREZ EUSTAQUIO, is also a visual artist represented by Silverlens Galleries in Manila.

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(to be continued..)

TO THE WIDOW OF MISSING JOURNALIST TIM M. OLIVAREZ: READ THIS

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2014 Journal GlocaLinks)

CHICAGO (JGL) – It was an unseasonably warm morning of February 4, 1985 when Tim M. Olivarez, correspondent of Tempo, a sister publication ofManila Bulletin, accompanied me in covering a murder case in Bulacan.

On our way back to the Bulletin, Tim told me that he was going to see a smuggling lord, Jose “Don Pepe” Oyson, that night. I asked him if I could join him.

Tim agreed provided I met him at about 7 that night inside our common beat – the Makati Police headquarters. For some reason, I forgot all about our rendezvous that night.

Two days later, Tim’s distraught wife, Cecille, called me up, asking for Tim’s whereabouts.
I told Cecille, “I had no idea.”

A Bikolano, like myself, Tim was also editing a community newspaper in Bataan province. Tim was never to be seen alive again since.
When I pored over the mechanics of Republic Act 10368, the law bestowing reparation and recognition on human rights victims under martial law, I just realized that Tim’s survivors could qualify as human rights claimants under the “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012.”

First of all, the law covers the violations during the period from Sept. 21, 1972 to Feb. 25, 1986. Tim disappeared on Feb. 4, 1985. And

Secondly, the violations should be committed by “agents of State, including President Marcos, his spouse Imelda R. Marcos, their immediate relatives by consanguinity or affinity, their immediate and close relatives, associates, cronies and subordinates.”

On board my car, Tim was telling me that Don Pepe was upset that he described in his Tempo article days earlier the modus operandi on how Don Pepe smuggled goods from Hong Kong to his turf in Paranaque beach.
SMUGGLER USES TELECOPE TO MONITOR HIS MEN
According to Tim, Don Pepe was holed up in one of the high-rise hotel rooms across the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Using a telescope, Don Pepe would follow several boats, carrying smuggled goods unloaded from a ship moored in either the north or south harbor and would take the goods to Don Pepe’s Manila Bay beachfront.

At the beachfront were several guards, some of them were subordinates of then Maj. Roberto (Bobby “Bungo”) Ortega of the Philippine Constabulary Metropolitan Police Command (Metrocom) Strike Force, waiting for the smuggled cargo.  Major Ortega and his men were there to protect the delivery of the Don Pepe’s smuggled goods.

“After my story was published in Tempo, Bobby Ortega went looking for me,” Tim told me. “Bobby even called up the Tempo offices. But it was Ruther (D. Batuigas, chief of reporters of Tempo), who answered the phone. Ruther told me Bobby sounded upset about me writing the smuggling story.”

As crime reporter for Manila Bulletin, I personally came to know Bobby Ortega during my coverage. Every time, there was bank robbery in Quezon City, whenever police reporters, including myself, rushed to scene, I always saw inside a bank a mestizo (light skinned) guy, who was oftentimes wearing civilian clothes, beating the Quezon City police first responders to the bank robbery scenes. I had a suspicion Bobby was part of the bank robbers.

I found out later that the “mestizo” guy was Bobby Ortega.

I also later learned that Bobby Ortega was the son of Carmen Ortega, said to be a “mistress” of President Marcos.

That is why when charges were filed against Don Pepe Oyson and others for murder for the disappearance of Tim, I never volunteered the name of Bobby Ortega as Don Pepe’s conspirator in the Tim’s murder because I was scared of “Bungo” (skull in Filipino language). Neither could I write it inManila Bulletin because all the newspapers under martial law were controlled by the Marcoses. Oyson was later convicted of murder and was later reportedly  “salvaged” (extra-judicially executed) by men under Gen. Alfredo Lim when Lim became director of the National Bureau of Investigation.

As I desperately tried to have an audience with President Marcos, I asked a friend, the late Deputy Metro Manila Governor Mel Mathay, to have me and other officers of The Rizal Metro Tri Media, Inc. (Tri-Media) be inducted by the President in Malacanang. I wanted to whisper to President Marcos that his “nephew,” Bobby Ortega, was the mastermind in the disappearance of Tim. But I wimped out at the last minute.

I only told the President to provide my group reward money of P100,000 (US$25,000 at P20 to US$1 exchange rate in 1985) for information that could lead to the suspects behind Tim’s disappearance.  President Marcos told then Director Greg Cendana of the National Media Production Center to source the P100,000 from the Marcos Foundation. Even after running a Malacanang press release that President Marcos ordered a grant of P100,000 reward money to our group, Director Cendana never handed me the P100,000  reward money.

FORTUNATELY, THERE WAS NO CLAIMANT
Fortunately, nobody came forward with credible information that will compel us to release the reward money.

The only benefit that my Tri-Media was able to give to the wife of Tim was the P25,000 (US$1,250) insurance coverage that my group was able to buy with premiums provided us by some of our friends, among them then San Juan Mayor and later President Joseph E. Estrada, now Manila mayor.

When I left Manila to join my parents and siblings in Chicago, I later learned that the officers of Tri-Media discontinued the insurance coverage of its members and decided to divide among themselves about P100,000 (US$25,000) that I left in the bank so they can continue paying premiums for their insurance coverage.

I will be losing sleep if I will not write about my personal knowledge of Bobby Ortega’s link to the disappearance of Tim now that the deadline for filing of human rights claim is coming up on Nov. 14, 2014.

Another newsman reportedly told Bobby Ortega that he is one of the suspects in Tim’s disappearance but Bobby reportedly denied it.

But I want to hear it myself from Bobby Ortega. I tried to reach out to Bobby Ortega in Baguio City, where he reportedly later became a city official, to ask him why Tim mentioned his name before Tim disappeared. But I did not get any response. Hopefully, Bobby Ortega will get in touch with me if he reads this column.

And if Cecille Olivarez can read this column, too, she or Tim’s heirs can clip this column and use this as a supporting document that will testify that Bobby Ortega, the “nephew” of President Marcos, has blood in his hands in the disappearance of Tim Olivarez. If not, Cecille or Tim’s relatives can send me a sworn statement that I will sign before the Philippine Consulate in Chicago to testify that Tim Olivarez was a victim of human rights violations by the “agents of State, including President Marcos, his spouse Imelda R. Marcos, their immediate relatives by consanguinity or affinity, their immediate and close relatives, associates, cronies and subordinates.”

Cecille Olivarez, you or Tim’s heirs, have on or before Nov. 10, 2014, to get in touch with me thru my email address: jglariosa@hotmail.com or thru my Facebook, Joseph G. Lariosa.

Or Cecille or Tim’s heirs can file your claim before the Human Rights Violations Claims Board, chaired by Gen. Lina C. Sarmiento. The HRVCB is accepting applications thru its Secretariat at E. Virata Hall E. Jacinto St., U.P. Diliman Campus Diliman, Quezon City1101 Philippines. It can be reached thru Tel. No. 373.4847 or thru email address at E-mail: hrvictimsclaimsboard@gmail.com or access this link: http://www.hrvclaimsboard.gov.ph/

(lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

TIM M OLIVAREZ1
Photo of Tim M. Olivarez (JGL File Photo)

SO NEAR YET SO SCARED1

SO NEAR YET SO SCARED:

President Marcos (fifth from right) inducts a group of journalists led by Joseph G. Lariosa (to Marcos’ right), president of The Rizal Metro Manila Tri-Media (Tri-Media) and now a Chicago, Illinois-based correspondent of Journal GlocaLinks. Lariosa asked President Marcos to help his group locate the whereabouts of missing Tempo correspondent Tim M. Olivarez. Lariosa wanted to whisper to the President that it was his “nephew,” Maj. Roberto “Bobby” Ortega, who was behind Olivarez’ disappearance but wimped out on the last minute. Olivarez went missing on Feb. 4, 1985 and is still missing to this day. Olivarez’ wife, Cecille, if she reads this, you or Tim’s heirs can still file a claim on or before Nov. 10, 2014 for reparation for her husband’s disappearance. (JGL File Photo)

FRIEND OF THE MEDIA1
NEWSMEN’S BENEFACTOR:

Filipino journalist Joseph G. Lariosa (fifth from left) celebrates after his party slate won in an election of officers of reporters group, The Rizal-Metro Manila Tri-Media, Inc. (Tri-Media), in early eighties. Raising his right hand (to his right) is then San Juan, Metro Manila Mayor and later Philippines President Joseph E. Estrada, now Manila mayor. Estrada was there to extend financial support for the survivors of missing newsman Tim M. Olivarez ofTempo, sister publication of Manila Bulletin. Olivarez’s wife, Cecille, if she reads this, you or Tim’s survivors could still file for reparation on Tim’s behalf on or before Nov. 10, 2014. (JGL File Photo)

Joseph G. Lariosa
Correspondent
Journal GlobaLinks
P. O. Box 30110
Chicago, IL 60630
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714

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Asuncion Treasures at the Central Bank Museum and Metropolitan Museum Of Manila

Posted by junasun

The following photos of the works of Rafael Asuncion, Justiniano and Mariano El Major (or maybe of El Minor) were provided to us by Sonny Asuncion Rayos during his last visit  to Manila. Only very few of our relatives are aware of the existence of some valuable works and masterpieces of our forefathers in these museums and in private collections. We owe a lot then to relative like Sonny for his untiring hunt for our  lost treasures.

Here is Sonny:

“The Asuncion and Paterno art and historical pieces are sought after by museums in Manila. Here are some of the art works of Mariano and Rafael Asuncion from the Central Bank Museum.  The Metropolitan Museum of Manila has, in its collection, an oil painting of Justiniano Asuncion entitled “Ang Pagpanaw ng Patriyarka…. I am excited to see these important historical and art pieces and I am just as thrilled to share these pictures with Bulan Observer readers.”
 

 

 

Rafael Asuncion and his Peso designs

 

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Pedro Paterno and the Five and Ten peso note of the first Philippine Republic

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Justiniano Asuncion’s The Passing Of The Patriarch

 

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Mariano Asuncion’s Nuestra Senora De La Paz

 

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EVILS OF POLITICAL DYNASTY

 

JGL Eye

By Joseph G. Lariosa

(© 2014 Journal GlocaLinks)

 

CHICAGO (JGL) – If the Philippine corridors of power are populated by relatives by blood or affinity, it is not surprising.

The pre-colonial Philippines was ruled by royalties and nobilities, like lakans, datus and mighty warriors, when laws of the jungle were supreme.

The matter of succession was interrupted only by the arrivals of Spaniards and Americans.

Despite the ongoing wars in Libya, Syria and other countries caused by popular upheavals to change their overstaying leaders, like what EDSA I had done, the Philippine Congress still refuses to accept the grim reality that political dynasty is really the main reason majority of the Filipino people are wallowing in abject poverty.

Right after the Filipino people toppled Marcos for overstaying in Malacanang, the revolutionary government of Cory Aquino took the initiative to nip the political dynasty in the bud by approving a provision in the 1987 Constitution that bans a family from monopolizing power.

But the problem is that Section 26 of Art. II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution was merely directory, not mandatory. It says, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

This policy merely contradicted Section 13 of the same Art. II, that says, “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”

How can the youth be encouraged in “their involvement in public and civic affairs” if only the youth of the overstaying politicians are given the chance to get elected into office?

This reminded me of this past week’s Gospel of Matthew 16:23, when Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You (after Jesus told Peter and other apostles that as a Son of God, He was going to suffer death).” 23 But He (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

 

FRAMERS WERE THINKING AS SATANS

The framers of the Philippine Constitution apparently while they were crafting the state policy against political dynasty were thinking as Satans or politicians, instead of thinking of the welfare of the people as God or statesmen. They should not have given Congress the option to “define” anti-political dynasty since it will be in conflict of the interest of these politicians. They should have just made it self-executory. Were them framers trying to drown frogs by tossing them in a shallow river? How myopic could they be?

 Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice (2nd-LP) told former Senator and former DILG Sec. Joey D. Lina over streaming DZMM 630 radio program, “Sagot Ko Yan!,” monitored live in Chicago, Illinois from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. last Saturday (Aug. 30) that his bill, HR 3587, an anti-political dynasty measure, is on life support.

Mr. Erice said although the anti-political dynasty measure has been introduced in every Congress during the last 27 years, it never saw the light of day.

When asked by Mr. Lina if anti-political dynasty “ay malapit sa sikmura ng mga tao” (close to stomach of the people) that would necessitate them to discuss the matter, Mr. Eric responded, very much so.

Mr. Erice said, “Siyam sa sampung pinakamahirap na probinsiya ay pinamumunuan ng mga politikong kinakasangkutan sa dynasty o mga ka-alyado ng dynasty. Bukod sa hindi mabilis ang pag-unlad ng bayan, lalong yumayaman ang political dynasty.” (Nine out of ten of the poorest provinces are headed by, if not involved with, dynasty or be allied with it. Instead of fast-tracking to improve the livelihood of the people, only the political dynasty is getting richer.)

Aside from provinces, cities and towns are also headed by political dynasty. It even starts from the lowly barangay, a training ground of the children of the mayors to run for higher office. And it goes all the way up to vice mayor, mayor and other elective positions occupied by the father, the mother, sister, brother, in-laws, etc. Not only does dynasty control the levers of power, it also monopolizes even the private enterprises.

“Nagkakahawaan na.” (It’s really infectious.)

 

180 OUT OF 291 CONGRESSMEN ENGAGED IN POLITICAL DYNASTY

 Although, his bill had hurdled the committee on suffrage, Erice said each of the 180 out of the 291 congressmen is engaged in political dynasty. He is not very optimistic that these 180 congressmen will ever vote in favor of his bill when it goes for a plenary vote.

Even party-list representatives are now infected by this plague. 

Mr. Erice told Mr. Lina that his bill will not allow an elected politician to let his children, siblings, parents or second degree of consanguinity and affinity, including in-laws, parents of in-laws and children of in-laws to run for office.

Right now, the Vice President (Binay) has a daughter, who is a senator, another daughter, who is a representative, a son, who is a mayor, and a wife, who was a former mayor. Or the Marcoses, who have a senator, a representative and a governor in the nuclear family.

There are at least two in the senate, who are siblings, one half-brothers, before a mother-and-son out of the 24 senators. There are governors, whose wives are either mayor or members of the city or municipal or provincial boards. In the case of Davao City (Mayor Duterte), when the father was termed out as mayor, he ran as vice mayor, then, let her daughter ran for mayor. When, he ran again for mayor, his son was his running mate as vice mayor.

In the case of Camarines Sur, in the last election, the grandfather ran against his grandson, who won as governor. Even Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., who is pushing for the passage of the anti-dynasty bill, is having credibility issues on this bill because his only daughter, Joy Belmonte, is the incumbent vice mayor of Quezon City while his nephew, Christopher “Kit” Belmonte is a representative of Quezon City’s 6th district.

Mr. Erice, however, is willing to compromise: to allow to run “two relatives in the governor’s office, successive or at the same time.Kailangan lang maumpisahan. (We just need to break the ice.) I hope there will be a sunset provision that will end such practice after a term of office.

“It’s better than nothing because peoples’ initiatives and referendum need higher threshold requirements: 3% vote of the electorate and 10% vote of the entire electorate, that is hard to meet.

Like Lina, who said he will not tolerate political dynasty, Mr. Erice said he will never let relatives of the second degree of consanguinity to run while he is in office.

He said if he succeeds with the political dynasty bill, he will turn to other electoral reforms, like electoral voting and how to deal with political butterflies. Stay tuned! (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

Joseph G. Lariosa
Correspondent
Journal GlobaLinks
P. O. Box 30110
Chicago, IL 60630
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714

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Asuncion kin reunion

by jun asun*

To all Asuncion relatives:

There will be a reunion on August 15 at 24 Times Street as requested by Sor Marissa Asuncion to celebrate the Feast of La Asuncion de Nuestra Seniora.

There will be a 6:30 pm mass followed by dinner. It will be a potluck.

For more Info, please contact Ed Rojas or Malou Asuncion.

*Thanks Ed and Malou for the Info! I wish you all a happy get-together.- jun asun

“Tree tunnel” in Sorsogon lost to road widening

  Yahoo South East Asia Newsroom  by Kim Arveen Patria

Trees in this portion of the highway in Bulan, Sorsogon, have grown big enough that their branches meet, as if creating a tunnel. The so-called tree tunnel is threatened by clearing operations for road widening projects. (Photo from Bulan's Facebook page)
A tree-lined portion of the highway is among the most photographed spots in Bulan, Sorsogon, but some fear the so-called “tree tunnel” will soon be seen only in photos.

Hundreds of almost century-old trees are set to be cut down to make way for wider roads in the coastal town, which is among the busiest and richest in the province.

Angry locals have questioned the government’s road widening projects. An online petition has been launched to stop the tree-cutting. Others have taken to the streets.

“Bulanenos should unite now to save the trees that have yet to be cut down by the Department of Public Works and Highways,” a Change.org petition read.

Bulan resident Ramil Agne, who posted the petition, told Yahoo Philippines that the DPWH has temporarily stopped the cutting of trees, pending a consultation.

He noted that the move came too late, however, as about 185 have already been cut from May 14 to 21. A total of 235 trees would be cut for the road work.

Officials have claimed that the roadside had to be cleared of trees to expand the highway to 20 meters from 15 meters, by adding 2.5 meters to each side.

“The traffic volume on our highway does not warrant a road widening project,” Agne said. He added that the 5-meter expansion “is not enough to call progress versus cutting trees.”

Many residents have also wondered why the road will be expanded when the local airport it leads to has been idle for decades. DPWH has not responded to requests for comment.

“I don’t want the trees to be cut down for the sake of useless road widening project. Road widening project will benefit only few people specially in terms of corruption,” said Andrew Zuniga, who signed the petition.

A “selfie campaign” has also been launched against the project, with netizens posting photos of themselves holding up appeals to save the town’s “tree tunnel.”

More than 100 trees have already been cut to make way for wider roads in Bulan, Sorsogon. (Photo by Karl CK)

Bulan’s case is the latest in what netizens have taken to calling a tree-cutting rampage by the DPWH, most of them tagged unnecessary by the areas’ locals.

Earlier this month, locals in Los Banos, Laguna, protested the cutting of trees for a widening project covering a 5.6-kilometer stretch of road near Mt. Makiling.

Local officials in Iloilo City have meanwhile asked the DPWH to explain why so-called “heritage trees” have been cut down along the city’s General Luna highway.

In Naga City, the local government is also leading efforts against a plan to cut down at least 650 trees along the Maharlika Highway in Camarines Sur province.

“Thousands of trees all over the Philippines, many of them century-old, have been cut for road widening… Many more trees face the same fate,” a separate Change.org petition said.

The petition, posted by Ivan Henares, called on the DPWH and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop cutting trees and review the policy.

“This review should provide a mechanism for genuine public consultation and a detailed scientific assessment the cutting of trees may have on the environment,” Henares said.

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Atty. K. Digno M. Asuncion

by Eduardo C. Rojas 

Today at 8:36 AM
My fellow Asuncion relatives, just saw this post of cousin Elcee’s FB.  Elcee is our second cousin (my generation though Elcee and her sibling Architect K Digno are younger).  Their dad K. Digno Asuncion is the first cousin of our mom (generation of Gracia Asuncion Carrillo Rojas & Corazon Asuncion Carrillo Galang).  Atty K Digno’s dad, Kenerino (married to Leonor Manas) is the sibling of our grandmother Guia Asuncion Carrillo (same generation as Consuelo Asuncion Intengan, Adonis Asuncion, Jacobo Asuncion, Rodolfo Asuncion, ..).  Malou & brother Andres “Jun”Asuncion’s line comes from Adonis, Sor Marissa Asuncion & sis Sor Naty come from Jacobo, Grace – Ann Grey – Monina – Ronivic – Rollie came from Dr Ronnie Asuncion, whose dad Rodolfo (married to Monica Gerona) is the brother of our grandmother Guia Asuncion.

 

Elcee Asuncion Villa

14 hrs ·

Our father, Atty. K. Digno M Asuncion, passed away peacefully in Manila today, May 12th – just as his wife and 5 children were taking Leone Giulio to the crematorium in Italy. He was surrounded by his loving in-laws and grandchildren. It is bittersweet that we lost 2 people we love within a week of each other. But now we know that we have 2 angels in heaven who are toasting us right now with their fav beer. We love you Dad. You taught us so much. You loved us so much.

 

To Elcee,  Ding and Families:

We would like to express our sincere  condolences on the passing away of your father Atty. K. Digno Asuncion. Tears on earth, joy in heaven.

jun asuncion + Family and Bulan Observer

 

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SECRET OF FIL AM CENTENARIAN: CHICHARON (FRIED PORK RIND)

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2014 Journal GlobaLinks)

 

 

CHICAGO (JGL) – Even when she was already dying inside the intensive care unit (ICU), Luz Diaz Agustin-Mella was still craving for chicharon (friend pork rind).

Her daughter, Heidilynn Mella-Equina, told the Journal GlobaLinks that aside from crediting her mother as having full of “faith and (being a) spiritual woman,” her Mom’s fondness for chicharon might have helped her extend her life to live more than a hundred years.

Ms. Mella-Equina, a general practicing nurse, said part of the food servings of her Mom had been chicharon at breakfast, lunch and dinner despite her and her family members’ warning her Mom that too much chicharon could be very fattening and would merely increase her cholesterol intake.

A Baptist, Luz Diaz Agustin-Mella would quote Psalm 9:10, which says, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years.” She would say, she had outlived the 70-year biblical injunction’s life span, “Am I not entitled to indulge in chicharon thru the remaining days of my life?”

Ms. Agustin-Mella, a home economics teacher and native of Bulan, Sorsogon in the Philippines, succumbed last March 4 at the age of 100 years and 18 days to complication from surgery to remove a blood clot from her large intestine in the Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center at 5645 West Addison Street in Chicago’s near northwest after eight days of confinement.
“She had continuous vomiting but had continuously prayed for two hours and gave up her fight for her life only when she realized that all her loved ones were by her bedside. She died peacefully,” her grieving daughter said.

“My Mom died a very happy woman. She was able to eat her favorite chicharon, would be very comfortable cooling herself off with a Philippine-spun pamaypay (fan) and would drink three cups of coffee everyday,” Heidilynn said.

Except during her birth deliveries and her last surgical operation and her regular doctor’s check ups, Luz Mella had never been hospitalized. Her only medications were eye drop as she had eye cataract and glaucoma, and Ibuprofen. She did not have any “maintenance medications.”

 

BAPTIST CHURCH IN LAS PINAS STARTED IN HER GARAGE

 

She had no high blood, no diabetes. She did not complain from anything.

Her body might have deteriorated causing her to use a walker for mobility. But her mind was still very good as she prayed and sang her favorite Gospel songs, “In the Garden,” words and music by Austin Miles, and “I Surrender All” by Judson W. Van De Venter that she learned as a Baptist, a Christian denomination she joined in 1968 in the Philippines seven years before immigrating to the United States.

A growing Las Pinas, Metro Manila Baptist church started in the garage of her home in 1970 as she loved to be a missionary to spread the Gospel.

She was fond of listening to Moody Radio, a 24/7 radio broadcast that “produces and delivers compelling programming filled with solid biblical insight and creative expressions of faith that helps take to the next step in your relationship with Christ.”

When Luz turned 100 last Feb. 14 (she was born Feb. 14, 1914), she got centenarian certificates from birthday greeter host Willard Scott of NBC Today’s Show from Washington, D. C. and from the National Centenarian Awareness Project founded by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D., of Redding, Connecticut.

Heidilynn expects some institutions in the Philippines to send her mother centenary greetings when her family plans to hold a memorial service on her behalf on May 4, 2014 at the Manila Memorial Chapel in Paranaque, Metro Manila. There, Luz’ ashes urn will be buried together with her late husband, Vigor De Castro Mella, Sr., of Magallanes, Sorsogon, a civil engineer and a World War II guerilla member under the Escudero Guerilla Unit, who preceded her in death when he met an accident in 1960 while he was a provincial treasurer in Catarman, Samar, and their son, Roland Mella, Jr., an industrial engineer, who drowned in a boating accident in Cedar Lake, Indiana in 1967 at the age of 26.

Luz was cremated Monday, March 10, after funeral wake and viewing last Friday, March 7, at Cumberland Chapel at Norridge, Illinois.

An alumna of Far Eastern University, Luz graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Home Economics and worked for three years as a nutritionist starting at the outbreak of World War II in 1941 at the U.S. Public Health, an agency that offered her to immigrate to the U.S.

After the war, Luz worked at the government’s Bureau of Printing, Department of Finance, taught home economics at the Sorsogon and Goa, Camarines Sur Provincial High Schools, employed at Government Service Insurance System and last taught at Muntinlupa High School for three years after which she revived her U.S. immigration application and immigrated with her family to the U.S. in 1975.

In Chicago, she worked for about five to six years at the Bunilsor Medical Clinic in Chicago before she retired.

Her survivors are her children, Romeo (Ophelia), a nautical engineer; Dr. Lourdes “Ditas” (Jaime) Hilao; Ramon, a retired American Red Cross nurse (Mila Texon); Heidilynn (Elson) Equina; and Vigor, Jr., retired medical clinic network worker (Josephine Belleza); 24 grandchildren; and great grandchildren and numerous nephews, nieces, grand nephews and grand nieces. Two other children preceded her, Roland  (who died at the age of 6 years old) and Roland, Jr., who died in 1967. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

 

Mama22

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY!

Luz Diaz Agustin-Mella (seated second row, third from right) is surrounded by her grandchildren from left to right (back row) Miguel Equina, Penny Mella, Mary Foster, John Mella, Jamie Hilao, Karen Mella and Jay Hilao; second row, from left, Roy Mella, Rocky Mella and Ramil Mella; front row are Kaleya Equina and Lynn Hilao-Tubalinal at her 100th birthday celebration last Feb. 14 at Georgio’s Banquet Hall at 8800 West 159th Street in Chicago’s suburban Orland Park. Luz Mella died last March 4 and was cremated March 10. A memorial service for her will be held on May 4, 2014 at the Manila Memorial Chapel at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines.  (JGLPhoto courtesy of Katleya M. Equina)

 

WITH FOUR YOUNGEST GRANDCHILDREN:

Luz Diaz Agustin Mella

Luz Diaz Agustin-Mella (seated right) is surrounded by her four youngest grandchildren from left to right Ramil Mella, Ramon Mella, Katleya Equina and Miguel Equina during the celebration of her 100th birthday last Feb. 14 at Georgio’s Banquet Hall at 8800 West 159th Street in Chicago’s suburban Orland Park. Luz Mella died last March 4 and was cremated March 10. A memorial service for her will be held on May 4, 2014 at the Manila Memorial Chapel at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines.  (JGLPhoto courtesy of Katleya M. Equina)

Joseph G. Lariosa
Correspondent
Journal GlobaLinks
P. O. Box 30110
Chicago, IL 60630
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714

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Piano Concert: Aries Caces

Source:  CDODev.COM

 

If you’re into classical music, this might interest you. Vienna based pianist Aries Caces, one of the most versatile Filipino concert pianists, will hold a pre-Valentine Concert at Rodelsa Hall in Cagayan de Oro City on February 12, 2014.

Tickets are priced P300 and for the benefit of the scholarship program of Rodolfo N. Pelaez Foundation.

 

 

caces (1)

More Fundraising work to be done

by jun asuncion

A cruel twist of fate would have it that the Ketsana Foundation’s library project be deferred to another propitious time. The unimaginable scale of destruction to lives and properties, the unfathomable depth of sorrows and pains, existential angst and social displacement of the victims which typhoon Haiyan had left required from us a reflexive change of plan and priorities. Even Switzerland had to defer some planned activities last November 18 by declaring this day  a national fundraising day for the typhoon victims in our country. So every sensible individual and nation saw the urgency of the situation, hence, a shift in priorities.

In keeping with Ketsana Foundation’s rule of thumb of helping the affected directly, two of its members will be going to these typhoon-ravished areas to give some families things they needed for their livelihood, such as fishing boats, garden tools, etc. Simply said, tools they need to start rebuilding their lives and immediate environment.

We have decided, however, that only half of the total proceeds of the benefit concert last week would go to the south and the remaining amount for our library project in Bulan.

This means, we have to organise another fundraising activity next year to reach the amount needed for this project. For those who may be reading this message and who feel the need to help Ketsana Foundation to finally  realize this project, please contact us. Soon Ketsana Foundation will have its own website where we can publish in detail all our activities and report the financial status. This is in keeping with transparency and credibility for we know that those who want to help also want to know what happens with what they give.

The benefit concert itself was a total success. Many people came that evening of November 21 in spite of the sudden snowfall which caused a little turbulence in the otherwise always orderly streets of Zürich. The pianist Dr. med. Robert Siebenmann did his best to make the cold evening a pleasant one for all with his warm and very personal rendition of Brahms and Chopin. The apero held at the lobby was opulent as  many friends came with their home-made specialties like Christmas cookies, Glühwine, cake, sandwiches and wines. It was a crowd of medical people, of artists and musicians.

I thank Mila, Elizabeth and Franklin Patricio and Madeleine Borel for their priceless help in making the event a success. Our biggest appreciation naturally goes to our pianist Robert Siebenmann for inspiring others to help and to all of our sponsors, friends and guests. Last but not least, our best appreciation and acknowledgement goes to our consul Miss Tess Lazaro (who delivered a nice  spontaneous inspirational speech) and cultural attaché Irene Sadang for gracing this memorable evening with their presence. Photos of the concert to follow.

For the meantime, we ask the children of Bulan to be more patient as we work more to realize our plan. Thank you and carpe diem.

A minute of silence, long hours of work

by junasun

Two weeks after the super typhoon Haiyan, we are faced with the herculean task of recovery and rebuilding. How do we build homes to the hundreds of thousands of homeless people and how do we give medical care to the wounded and sick among them without water and electricity and existing hospitals – and even medical staff for they, like all others, were victims themselves. This is such  an unimaginable logistical problem. Though help and support of all kinds are coming from the international community and the national government, still it takes time to build the most needed infrastructures like roads, hospitals, water and electric plants, bridges and the hundreds of thousands of homes needed. Many have died the day the typhoon hit these areas, but many more will die in such conditions of hunger, shock, trauma, homelessness and zero infrastructures, services and facilities. The government is doing everything but it needs time, – and time is running out to save the weakest and vulnerable among the survivors.

Most of the dead were buried by now. And while we still have hundreds of hours of work before us, to take a minute of silence that will bring us to that quiet place in us where no typhoon can ever penetrate, a place where we all feel at home together as a people, will do us good.

In the face of all these  destructive calamities that have recently befallen the country, we shall all agree that life shall go on and that the life and dignity  of every human shall be respected and protected. And also, as we now pick up our tools to start rebuilding, we should not neglect to treat nature with respect  and consider her in our planning so that she will treat us the same way. We are inseparable from nature, therefore, it’s just wise to live by her rules.

The Philippine archipelago is endowed with natural beauty, but beauty has its price. The Philippines is on the front line of natural calamities and danger may come from above and below. Danger from above are the typhoons. The Philippines is the only large country that is geographically very exposed to tropical cyclones. There are about 20 to 24 typhoons that hit the Philippines, and a few of them are devastating. The most recent one, super typhoon Haiyan, has occurred just two weeks ago and which has practically obliterated Tacloban city and many more places in this region. Around 44,000 of 55,000 houses were wiped out, the rest may still be standing but heavily defaced. Those buildings near the shore just disappeared with the storm surge and over 5,000 people disappeared in a wink of the eye of the storm.

Typhoons are just normal  for Filipino people that a child by the time he is ten years old will have already experienced around 240 typhoons. But this month’s typhoon has surpassed them all. And this typhoon Haiyan has given us a glimpse of the probable nature of typhoons yet to come, – that some of them could be as strong or even stronger than Haiyan. That’s a grim reality to come we have to brace ourselves for.

The danger from below our feet and houses are the earthquakes. The Philippine islands lie in the so called Pacific Ring Of Fire, hence, many earthquakes occur in the islands. The last one just last October 2013 which damaged among others Bohol and Cebu. If this happened that a strong earthquake and a super typhoon occurred in  just a few weeks of interval, the worst that one could imagine is if they would happen at the same time sometime in the future. Better not.

If beauty has its price, then it’s a high price. A single typhoon costs millions or billions of pesos. This typhoon Haiyan alone has cost around P25 billions. But that’s the loss and how about the cost of rebuilding? Aside from thousands of human lives, the country losses therefore tens of billions of pesos from typhoons and earthquakes alone every year.  And we  don’t even add to that the cost of the damages of the typhoons of political corruption that befall our senate and house of representatives and the provincial and municipal buildings. A total shame.

One thing is clear: We cannot move the Philippines away from these typhoons and earthquakes.The people have to  live with it, have to stay in their homeland and rebuild their cities and homes. For the responsible and sensible world citizens (or Netizens) who live in fortunate locations, their only option is to help. The Philippine islands have a life-saving role to play, – as a typhoon shock absorber or shield because after a typhoon has hit the Philippines with its full impact,  it normally continues its course to Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia but already weakened to a certain degree, hence, saving countless lives in these neighboring countries. Haiyan was already over 100 km/h slower when it approached Vietnam. Tha’s a big deal.

Typhoons here, earthquakes there, still life must go on like that of one father in Tacloban who lost his wife and five of his children instantly as the killer waves surged into their village that he is now left with only one child who survived with him. He said that the pain of loss was  hard to bear but he still has a child who needs him that’s why he chose life.

For us then who are not regularly affected by such devastating natural calamities, let’s choose to help them recover from their severe nightmare.

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Benefit Concert: Message Of Ambassador Leslie Baja

Leslie.baja
 Ambassador Leslie J. Baja

Philippine Embassy, Berne, Switzerland

MESSAGE

Congratulations to the Ketsana Foundation, especially to the two individuals who started  it, Franklin Patricio and Milagros Asuncion, and its two active members, Jun Asuncion and Elizabeth Patricio, for successfully organizing another charity event for the benefits of our less privileged brethren in Sorsogon!

I was moved while reading the story of how your library project came about. I hope that the magnanimity, determination and the noble cause you have always espoused will be
an inspiration to the other Filipinos in Switzerland to continually share the fruits of their  success to our less fortunate countrymen in the Philippines.

I share your pride and congratulate you on your past achievements of providing mobile tent centres for the medical missions in Sorsogon, as well as the other assistance you
have extended since 2008 to help brighten up the lives of the victims of natural disasters  in the provinee. Your untiring efforts and unwavering enthusiasm has continued to be the source of  strength for our less privileged people in Sorsogon who have been the recipients of numerous tragedies in the recent past. It should be an inspiration to many to pitch in doing deeds of kindness and acts of charity.

I thank Dr. Robert Siebenmann for generously offering to do this classical piano concert and sharing his talents to help build a brighter world for the children of Sorsogon.
Helping build a humble library for these children is already one big step towards the realization of their dreams. I also thank all the friends and supporters ofthe Ketsana Foundation who, through these years, have tirelessly supported the cause of the foundation. May your unflagging support and generosity inspire others to do their share in building a world free from the bondage of poverty.

To all of you at Ketsana Foundation, your friends and supporters, my best wishes on your future projects and hope that the little drops of kindness from your heart will make a mighty ocean of love!

Leslie J. Baja            Message of Amb. Baja to Ketsana Foundation ( original in pdf)

Ambassador

 

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info@philembassyberne.ch

www.philembassyberne.ch

Benefit Concert 2013

by junasun

The Ketsana Foundation in Zürich which was founded by Franklin Patricio and Milagros Asuncion, with active members Jun Asuncion and Elizabeth Patricio, has organized another Benefit Concert in Zürich this coming November 21, 2013 which will  be held at the Gemeindesaal Zollikon, Rotfluhstrasse 96,  8702 Zollikon, Zürich.

This will be another  classical piano evening which will showcase for a charitable cause the musical talent of Mr. Robert Siebenmann, himself a seasoned Swiss heart surgeon working at the world-class Hirslanden Clinic in Zürich.

P1180632-002

Dr. Robert Siebenmann, classical pianist and heart surgeon

Convinced of our cause of helping young people develop love and passion for reading printed books, and impressed at how the Filipino pianist Mr. Cases played for the Ondoy victims last 2009 to help our medical missions in the Philippines, Dr. Siebenmann readily offered his precious hands to help us raise funds for our project of building a modest public library in Bulan for the young students.

To add extra boost to the morale of the Swiss-Filipino friends who support this project, we have also invited our Philippine Ambassador in Berne Mr. Leslie J. Baja to join us this evening. With Dr. Robert Siebenmann’s precise and relaxed hands as a surgeon, an evening of quiet and relaxing classical piano music of Johannes Brahms and Frederic Chopin  awaits us on the 21st of November for sure.

We also invite friends of Bulan Observer from all over the world to join us and to help support this Library Project.

library

My personal message for the Concert on November 21:

Now, may I ask? When was the last time you were in a library? Long ago? Not me, for I’m every day in a library, – in my mini library at home. Indeed, it’s such a special privilege or a luxury to have one at home where you can read and write undisturbed to compose your mind. In my library, I have written many articles for my blog. A library is very similar in a way to a Karate Dojo because it’s a place of quiet, respect and introspection; a place for working and of balancing your mind and body.

The Roman Orator Cicero once said that ” if you have a garden and a library, then you have everything you need”.  The same Cicero said that  “We are not born, we do not live for ourselves alone; our country, our friends, have a share in us”, – kind words from a man who existed over a hundred years before Christ.

It is in this context of garden, library and sharing that we felt moved to take Cicero literary and continue with this project of building a modest library in Bulan for those children who don’t even have a garden or a proper home. A library is a meeting place, a very democratic place where young people learn to know their culture. Hence, raising funds to build a library is building up culture as opposed to destruction of culture by  cutting funds meant for public libraries as some government leaders do.

There is a personal background to this library project. For it was once my plan to help a primary school in Bulan by sending boxes of books in English I have bought myself for their library which in itself is in a very desolate situation for lack of government funds. But on their way to Bulan, in 2009, these books were destroyed in Manila by a series of heavy floods that hit the Philippines at that time. Instead of replacing those books, my friends here decided we would rather send medicines and first aid materials to the victims in Bulan. Yet along the way we have never given up this library project in spite of the typhoons, floodings and earthquakes that batter the archipelago every year.

But a noble dream remains just a dream if one does not act.

We acted and that’s why we are gathered here tonight because we invited you to help us make this dream a reality. The fact that you are here tonight means you support culture and you feel that others have a share in you.

One person who felt the same way even went beyond that for he volunteered also to play piano for us tonight. As a heart and vascular surgeon by profession, his duty is about saving lives of people who come to him with broken hearts in the true sense of the word, people who are between living and dying. The same hands and fingers that have saved people from dying will be playing the piano tonight and thereby saving a piece of culture in Bulan someday soon, – i.e., as soon as the library building has been built with a little help from all of  us.

My heartfelt thanks then to our pianist Dr. Robert Siebenmann, a heart surgeon with a heart for the less fortunate children, for taking with us the very first concrete step to realizing this library project, – where  children living ten thousands miles from here  may have dreamed of.

About Dr. Robert Siebenmann (English translation of the German original by junasun)

Robert Siebenmann began his piano studies at the age of 12 years with piano lessons at the music school and the Winterthur Conservatory with Emil Schenk.

During his High School in Erlangen ( Germany ), he continued it with Karl Pratter. In addition to the study of medicine in Zurich , he took piano lessons with Alfred Ehrisman . The time-consuming and demanding training as heart- and later as  vascular surgeon, had left him at times with little or no time for playing the piano, However, he had never given up completely to continue with his favorite hobby. But as a busy cardiovascular surgeon at the clinic Hirslanden he has but only on the weekends the time to practice and play .

He feels honored to receive as  an amateur the opportunity to play for a charity event in front of an interested  audience. The main thing here  is primarily to support a charity event, an event being organized now and then  and with success by a group of Filipino nurses of Clinic Hirslanden and their friends. He asks the audience not to expect a professional performance yet  he hopes that he is able to do justice to  the music and to the composers..

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NPA’s OUT OF TOUCH, ANACHRONISTIC!

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2013 Fil Am Extra Exchange)

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – The New People’s Army used to have my respect for championing the causes for social justice and reform in the countryside.

Not anymore.

If they keep on their murderous streak, like what they did to my first cousin, Virgilio “Bilyong” Miguel Garra, based on their faulty intelligence, they would turn up like the boy, who cried wolf. Nobody would believe them anymore that they could be the
alternative law enforcers or vigilantes for the oppressed Filipinos in the rural community.

Saying that they killed Garra, a retired Senior Police Officer 1 in the Philippine National Police, for being active in intelligence work in Matnog, Bulan and Magallanes in the Philippines against the NPA’s last July 24 at 6:45 a.m., the NPA’s took matters into their hands by executing (salvaging) him extra judicially without mercy in the middle of the street.

The NPA’s accused Garra of reporting their activities to the Philippine government’s Commanding Officer of the 31st Infantry (Army) Battalion.

So, what if Garra would still remain to be in the intelligence community after his retirement? If he would be reporting only the truth, I don’t see anything wrong with him taking a post-retirement second career path!

Garra was like some retired policemen joining a private security agency or as bouncer of some nightclubs or bodyguard to some celebrities and politicians, which are very much part of a field of his expertise. Other policemen, who retired from the mounted service, would even form an escort service to cater to funeral processions and wedding events.

At 55, Mr. Garra was too young to retire and to give up the knowledge he learned after years of training in the field that contributed to the maintenance of peace and order in his neighborhood.

His killers, the NPA’s so-called Celso Minguez Command in Matnog, had blamed him for causing the surrender of two members of the Command during the 90’s and in 2006.

Why would Mr. Garra be deprived of doing something that he loved to do that made him an effective supplier of prized information that helped the local military keep the peace in the neighborhood?

 TRAITOR TO NPA’s, HERO TO THE GOVERNMENT

 In the eyes of the NPA’s, Garra was a traitor to their cause. But in the eyes of the Philippine government, Garra was a hero!

This bunch of thugs and outlaws could not manufacture a more credible accusation against Bilyong. So, they contrived a ridiculous web of lies that Bilyong was being punished for being a “dealer of shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) that wrecks havoc on the health of Sorsoganons.

If my cousin were a drug dealer in the community, “in the schools and in the offices,” why was this accusation not ever raised when he ran for town-wide councilor of Matnog last May?

A real drug dealer, in his right mind, would not run the risk of exposing his reputation as a drug dealer by running for a public office, like Virgilio.

At a street value of 5,000 pesos (US$ 119.00) per gram or $167,683.30 to $251,524.90 (P6.7 million-P10 million) per kilogram, shabu should have made Virgilio a very rich man. He could have financed the surgical operation and the professional fees of the doctors, who could treat his “two baseball-sized boil” in the back of his neck. If Virgilio had sleepless nights, it was not because his conscience was bothering him because he was a  drug dealer but because the boil in the back of his neck could not let him sleep if he lied down flat on his back!

But instead of spending the money sent Virgilio by his nephew, who is in the U.S. military, to have his boil treated, Virgilio used the money to buy a van that he needed in his small auto repair business. But when Virgilio’s wife needed the money to treat her cancer, Virgilio sold his auto repair business lock, stock and barrel to pay for the hospitalization of his cancer-stricken wife, who died last year.

To support his family, Virgilio started a rattan furniture business, which would not have been necessary, if he had a lucrative business in dealing shabu.

THEY SHOULD SHED THEIR DUTCH COURAGE!

 I challenge the killers of Virgilio, who owned up the crime, to come forward and present their evidence against him and extricate themselves from the crime of murder. They should not hide under the skirt of anonymity or have the Dutch courage of their leader Jose Ma. Sison, who waged his war against the Marcos dictatorship from Utrecht.

For the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, it’s about time they give up their arms, come down from the hills, and join the mainstream society. World War II was over a long time ago!

The Hukbalahap (Hukbong Mapagpalaya Laban sa Hapon) has long disbanded. Your North Star, namely, the Socialism in Russia and the Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, had crumbled and is now turning capitalist! Your raison d’etre is gone!

Why don’t you step out of the shadows and help the Philippine government in its peace and order drive? Tama na an pasaway san mga bulan-bulanan! (Grow up. Enough of being a nuisance!)

If you don’t return to mainstream society, you are just common criminals and petty extortionists, who are considered terrorists by the international community.

If you return to society by renouncing use of arms, you can run for public office. If your campaign would make sense, I am sure you can get some votes and you can even win!

But you have to step out of the shadows as Communism as an ideology, except perhaps for Cuba, is now becoming extinct. And your murderous spree will never endear you to the rural folks either nor to your supporters, local or overseas, who should now be wearing out your welcome.

If your children will realize that their education and their goals under Communism are very limited to taking up arms against their kababayans (countrymates) and the government, they should be deserting you so they can live peacefully by embracing the rules of society. But of course, your children’s desertion will only be possible if the Philippine government can bring education to them and provide them jobs and treat them humanely, not with iron hand.

These children will leave the aging NPA warriors to fend for themselves. When this time comes, it will be the end of Communism in the Philippines.

But if the NPA’s will insist on leading a life on the run, it is entirely up to them to lead an everlasting life of isolation and more hardship. Nobody will cry for their loneliness nor covet their godforsaken kingdom. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 Virgilio Bilyong Miguel Garra, the candidate for councilor

Photo of Virgilio “Bilyong” Miguel Garra (left), whose hand is being raised by Sorsogon leader, Hermie Aquino, during the election campaign last May when he ran for Matnog, Sorsogon, Philippines councilor. (From the Facebook of his daughter, Versie Garra Antonio)

 Virgilio Bilyong Miguel Garra Shot in the middle of the street

Photo of Virgilio “Bilyong” Miguel Garra when gunned down in the middle of the street by the New People’s Army last July 24 in Matnog, Sorsogon, Philippines. (Facebook of the NPA’s, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006470253173)

Joseph G. Lariosa
Correspondent
Fil Am Extra Exchange
Journal Group Link International
P. O. Box 30110
Chicago, IL 60630
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714

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PH MILITARY POINTS TO “USUAL SUSPECTS” IN THIS MURDER “WHODUNIT”

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2013 Fil Am Extra Exchange)

 

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – The .45 caliber pistol was invented by Mr. John Browning to stop cold a raging juramentado, a Muslim armed with a kris, a jagged sword, on a suicide mission for martyrdom to kill Spanish and American invaders in Mindanao at the turn of the 19th century. These juramentados were the precursors of the suicide bombers in some Muslim extremist countries scaring the hell out of their visiting military forces.

But I never had any inkling that my once pilyo (mischievous but lovable) younger cousin, who had grown to become a policeman in my mother’s native town of Matnog in Sorsogon in the Philippines, would be felled by bullets from a .45 caliber pistol (http://tinyurl.com/ppp6bso). He was treacherously shot from behind his head allegedly by “suspected communist rebels.” My cousin was not even a Muslim, nor a juramentado! And he did not deserve to die from such cowardly act.

I don’t know if his murder was personal vendettas by his unseen enemies, whom he owed huge personal debts. But his enemies should have been men enough to face him or should have brought instead a case against him before the court of law if they wanted to settle a score. And not to resort to salvaging him!

If reports were true that Virgilio “Bilyong” Miguel Garra had drawn the ire of the rebels, I don’t know how he earned such wrath.

From what I know, the rebels only go after the big fish in the community, who oppresses the community. They usually go after ranking military officers, chiefs of police or mayors, who violate the people’s human rights. But not Bilyong. For the simple reason that he had lost any power and influence in the municipality after he retired from the police force that would enable him to commit human rights violations.

 

BILYONG DID NOT WORK IN LUCRATIVE PH BUREAUCRACIES

 

Bilyong did not make any money from the police force that should give rebels reason to “levy tax” from him. Unlike some of his rich neighbors, who made it big after brief stints with the Bureau of Customs and other Philippine government bureaucracies. Nor was he on the take in the lucrative Matnog ferryboat station franchise, a favorite milking cow by incumbent Matnog mayors.

Bilyong ran as a municipal councilor of Matnog in the last local lections. As expected he lost because he had nothing to offer but public community service, like his late father, Jose “Papa Tote” Garra, who was Matnog’s long-time Municipal Secretary. Bilyong had no money to buy votes either. So, how would he make the rebels’ blood boil when he did not even have a clout?

If his enemies were politicians, why would politicians still go after someone who is already down?

I do not know who shot and injured him when he was still in the police force when I last saw him in 1998.  Perhaps, police homicide investigators probing his murder should revisit his old case that reached the court.

From initial reports from my sources in Matnog, Bilyong was shot from behind his head in front of his house, which is near a Highway Patrol Group.

If this were so, why would the rebels still take special interest on a penniless election loser?

If Bilyong were shot near the Highway Patrol Group, why would the shooter/s be too brazen enough to fire shots within the hearing and visual distance of the Highway Patrol Group? Were the shooter/s in cahoots with the Highway Patrol Group? If not, did the Highway Patrol Group pursue the shooter after the shooting? If not, why not?

A lot of times after rebels conduct an operation, they usually claim responsibility right after the fact that, in effect, clears the military. I have yet to hear any claim of responsibility from the rebels for the slaying of Bilyong and their reasons for salvaging him!

If the military reports were true that Bilyong was felled by a bullet from a .45 caliber pistol, was the gun used a “colorum” or a “paltik? If it is, then, the chance of identification of the gunman is next to impossible.

 

GUN’S FINGERPRINT OR DNA

 

If not, then, this government-issued firearm can be matched to the serial number of the gun, which is only issued to a military officer.

In the U.S., and I hope in the Philippines, too, all registered firearms are “test fired” twice. One shell is sent to the owner of the firearm and the other shell with the expended bullets is sent to the FBI.

If the gun is used in a crime, the bullet recovered from the crime scene can be matched to the bullet and the gun formation that the gun manufacturer sent to the FBI, that is, if the recovered bullet is not completely messed up.

A Filipino American friend, who is also a gun owner, told me, when manufactured, gun’s “rifling impressions” (the inside of the barrel where bullets pass through) are different from another gun of the same make. Although, built by the same factory, using the same machine and material, the gun’s “firing pin and shell ejector mechanism” are also unique from another gun, and are the equivalent of the gun’s fingerprint or DNA.

If only the shell casing is recovered near the crime scene, gun matching is still possible as the gun leaves very distinct marks on it. The ballistic investigation will focus on the firing pin and shell ejector mechanism.

But if the slug was recovered from the body, then, the investigator can compare it with the rifling impression from the gun’s barrel.

I hope the Philippine government has an airtight inventory of firearms in its database that should make it easy for homicide investigators to trace the owners of firearms used by hired killers.

As I told my relatives, if they happen to have a gun, like Bilyong, who was in the police service, they have to be doubly careful in leading their way of life as their enemies would not be confronting them face to face but would attack them from behind to even things up. And they should always pray.

Goodbye, Bilyong! May you rest in peace! (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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Aquino made right call in West Philippine Sea dispute

By Hermenegildo C. Cruz

12:14 am | Friday, June 14th, 2013 3 212 1

Three things happened recently in connection with the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing expressed her “concern” that the Philippines may be putting up new structures on Ayungin Shoal (Inquirer, 5/30/13). That is equivalent to the schoolyard bully telling you he is afraid you may beat him up. Earlier, President Aquino announced that we would “resist bullies entering our backyard” (Inquirer, 5/22/13). This statement by the President was followed a few days later by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s own, that “…we will fight for what is ours up to the last soldier standing” (Inquirer, 5/24/13).

The statements of the President and the defense secretary called a spade a spade. There is a possibility that we may have to shed blood to defend our territory. China has a record of using force in settling border disputes with its neighbors, to wit: Korea versus the forces of the United Nations in 1950; India over the Ladakh area in 1950; the USSR at the Ussuri River in 1969; Vietnam in the Paracels Islands in 1974, the “Punishment Border War in 1979,” and Johnson Reef in 1988; and Tibet in 1950.

The key features of these border intrusions by China are the following:

• The communist ideology does not count in China’s conduct of its foreign relations. In Marxist ideology, the state is supposed to wither away. However, the Beijing apparatchiks cannot wait for the Marxist utopia when national boundaries will become meaningless, to be replaced by a world proletarian brotherhood. Thus, two “fraternal socialist countries,” the USSR and Vietnam, had been victims of Chinese border incursions.

• All the border conflicts are limited wars except in the case of Tibet. The Chinese stopped their intrusions upon meeting resistance that could result in unacceptable losses. In the Ladakh area of India, the Chinese seized disputed territory and then stopped their incursions when they reached areas where there are fixed Indian defenses. In the Korean War, the Chinese stopped their offensive across the 38th Parallel in the face of the overwhelming firepower of the UN forces.

• In the dispute with the USSR, the Chinese stopped their foray when the Soviet Union threatened to use nuclear weapons.

• In the case of Tibet, it became a total war of annihilation. The Tibetans did not have a credible military capability, so the Chinese took over the entire country.

• The border disputes are in the continental land mass of Eurasia. The Chinese incursion into the West Philippine Sea is the first time it has tried to project its power overseas. The Paracels are an offshore territory.

From the foregoing examples, the lesson is clear: We must have a credible armed deterrent. Otherwise, any Chinese incursion into our territory can spread beyond the West Philippine Sea and, like the Tibetans, we may face unacceptable losses to our nation.

The initiative of our Department of Foreign Affairs to bring the dispute to the United Nations is a diversion.

A UN resolution awarding us the disputed islands will not settle the issue. China will simply ignore it. The UN does not have the means to enforce its decisions. Our hope that if we get such a decision, we will gain the support of the international community, is also wishful thinking. There is no such thing as world public opinion.

China is a big power with friends everywhere. A UN resolution in our favor will simply divide the world: Some countries will support us, some will support China, and most of the world will not care. Even within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, we failed to gain unanimous support for our initiatives on the dispute in the West Philippine Sea. Cambodia and Burma (Myanmar) did not align with us. So the bottom line is: We should strengthen our armed forces to resist aggression, and forget the UN.

In conducting foreign relations, a country should always prepare for the worst-case scenario. The worst thing we can do is to hope that China will make an exception in its dispute with us and use an approach different from what it has employed vis-à-vis its continental neighbors.

* Hermenegildo C. Cruz, a retired ambassador, has written other commentaries on the dispute in the West Philippine Sea. He holds a master of arts degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy.

Buildings designed with unique character finding market

From Philippine Daily Inquirer

Even when buying a townhouse or residential condominium, customers these days expect so much more from a brand. Chief among these expectations, particularly among high-end buyers, is that spaces have a certain unique character they can relate to or a strong “sense of place,” according to Digno “Ding” Asuncion, who, together with wife Isabel, heads Asuncion-Berenguer Inc. (ABI), a leading architectural and interior design firm.

Thus, when ABI drew plans for a boutique 280-unit town house development by Alveo Land in Pasig City, the firm shied away from safe-and-tested design solutions. It chose a contemporary theme focused on the cubiform for the townhomes. For the centerpiece of the community, the clubhouse, Ding designed an irregular L-shaped layout, with window recesses that play on irregular angles.

“Many people believe symmetry is beauty. In Ametta Place, we wanted to show that asymmetry can also be very attractive,” explains the architect, who, after working with international architectural firms in Hong Kong, set up his own design office doing design work in Guangzhou and Shanghai, and in the colony at the height of the construction boom in the ’90s.

Asymmetry is also very evident in a four-level clubhouse for Solinea Condominium Resort in Cebu, also drawn up by ABI. The clubhouse’s layout and facades likewise shy away from right angles.

The architect who paints abstracts in mixed media and creates metal sculptures to destress observes that more and more upper-end real estate clients are traveling these days and getting exposed to unconventional architecture that make a design statement.

Another ABI project that breaks the monotony of traveling on the North Expressway is an all-white Shell Station Food Hub along North Luzon Expressway, with a roof that seems to form a wave. Inside, the structure breaks away from the standard flat ceiling and follows the curves of the roof, allowing the visitor to experience that strong sense of place consistent with the works of ABI.

States Asuncion, who conceptualized that Shell Station design inspired by a handkerchief waving in the wind: “We want people to stop and think when they see our work. We enjoy deconstructing simple shapes and putting them back together in a unique way.”

To keep his creativity flowing, Ding dabbles in the fine arts. He works with mixed media on canvas and has a marked preference for acrylic and charcoal. His garden in the Quezon City home he shares with Isabel and their three children displays his metal sculptures that he leaves to rust—finding beauty in the oxidation process. Nevertheless, he does not exhibit or sell his works as a rule. The rare owner of three of his paintings is an ex-pat, who bought a Belleview flat in Tagaytay Highlands once owned by the couple. The buyer purchased the place on the condition that Ding’s paintings should be part of the package.

A descendant of Justiniano Asuncion or “Kapitan Ting,” one of the leading Filipino painters of the 19th century, Ding was once a University of the Philippines fine arts student. On his second year, he shifted to architecture and moved to the University of Sto. Tomas because it allowed him to “work on a more artistic and purposeful scale beyond that which a visual artist would normally encounter.”

In 2013, another ABI-designed structure in Bonifacio Global City is bound to make passersby pause and think. To maximize visual impact, the mid-rise headquarters of Alveo Land is composed basically of two attached rectangular masses, with one significantly smaller than the other. Its glass wall exteriors boldly display solid diagonal panels which continue beyond the roofline.

“Our client is a prolific developer that embraces green architecture. They continually explore new concepts for their projects and have grown leaps and bounds,” says Ding. He drew inspiration from the bountiful grass that grows in Bonifacio Global City’s open spaces, which are fast disappearing and may in the near future be immortalized only in this prime building beside High Street.

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