Archive for October 17, 2010

Powerful Mothers

Mothers and powerful women both -- Manay Gina de Venecia and Panama's former first lady Vivian Torrijos

October 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment

Abono chair unfazed by absence of congressional insertion

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

ROSALES- The chairman of Abono Party List has no problem about Malacanang’s stance not to give financial “insertion” on top of the P70 million pork- barrel each congressman receives annually.

Eng. Rosendo So said that it is just okay for him.

“Talaga lang naman na dapat walang insertion. Kung ano ang para sa congress, iyon dapat ibigay. Lahat is equally divided,” So said.

Recently, many members of the 52 party list groups in the House of Representatives protested why Malacanang did not include the party-list when it pledged to give P50 million for each district congressman.

The recipient-solons of this fund will identify road projects and repairs in their respective districts for implementation by the Department of Public Works & Highway.

Meanwhile,. So said that Abono continues to go to the different places in the province for its medical missions and giving assistance to the farmers.

Abono has also invited the private sector in assisting the corn farmers in Pangasinan.

“Inimbitahan natin iyung Simon Enterprises para sa corn dito sa ating area. Magpapa-utang sila sa mga farmers. Iyon din ang direction na ginagawa natin para mag-participate ang mga nasa private sector sa pagtulong sa agriculture kasama ng mga government agencies,” So said.

So also lauded the mayors in Mangaldan and Eastern Pangasinan for their vigilance against the entry of imported frozen meat.

He suggested that the meat composed mostly of pork and chicken sold in the market should be put in freezers.

He feared that meat will be vulnerable to disease after they are defrosted.

October 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

A botched abduction

Sitio Aling near Arellano St. is the little Tondo of Dagupan City.

Young kids there are notorious in terms of robbery and assault.

A long time resident there told me that he would not regret if some of these kids would be summarily executed by some people to serve as deterrence to their fellow habitual delinquents.

“Mga magulang pa ng mga bata na ito ang nag-uutos sa mga anak nila ng kalukohan!” he told me.


I heard on radio and TV that in a wee hour recently, two policemen picked one of them, a 14-year old, somewhere in Arellano.

The mother and brother of the abducted hysterically reported to media outlets how two familiar looking policemen in patrol car 501 collared their loved one.

They said when they reported the incident; the police manning a precinct in that area told them that they do not have a report with regard to their query.

They feared their relative has been “salvaged” (street parlance of being murdered).

I felt sorry not to the fate of this family. I felt sorry how the cops bungled this operation.

This is idiocy at its highest. Susmariosep, picking up a “delinquent” by using a police car?

I could now imagine the criminal and administrative backlash this incident will generate not only on the abductors but also to their superiors as the incident has been sensationalized in the media.


As I was encoding this column, Lt. Colonel Romeo Caramat (PMA class 1992) was being interviewed by Bombo Radyo on the whereabouts of the kid.

Caramat, my classmate at the University of Pangasinan, emphatically said that is easy to accuse the police. And it’s easy to quote the number of a patrol car.

“Hindi naman ganuun ka tanga iyung mga pulis ko na gagawa ng bagay na iyan na naka-uniporme pa!” Caramat said.


Since the village election is just around the corner, it is timely to share this observation to candidates how some politicians stay undefeated every time they foray in an election.

Recently, I dropped by the office of Lingayen Mayor Jonas Castaneda.

A second year high school student was seated between newly-minted political operator Atong Remogat and newly minted columnist Ronnel de Vera.

“What’s your purpose in going to the mayor, boy?” I posed

“I am going to solicit a broom from the mayor. It’s my class project.”

Atong was all too impressed by the guts of the kid. Atong felt the boy has just eclipsed his audacity to rub elbows with the powers that be.

“Galing pa daw iyang bata kay governor para mag-solicit ng walis. Pero sabi niya wala daw duon si gob sa opis niya,” I told everybody in banter.

Mayor Jonas told us that the boy is a frequent caller. He said his classmates have been doing the call every time they have projects.

“You see my office is open to everybody,” he said.

His daughter Sheila, my student in political science before, told me lately that even guys who wore shorts and those who were tipsy drop by his father’s office to ask for financial help.

This accessibility to the hoi-polloi is the secret why Mayor Jonas, former Urdaneta City Mayor Amadito Perez (now the incumbent “ambassador” of the Philippines to Taiwan), and his son Mayor Bobom make them undefeated.

(Send comments to

October 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm 1 comment

Pajela dares Revita: Hold special elections

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ROSALES- “To stop once and for all these bickering and disunity in the town, I am challenging Mayor (Ricardo) Revita to a special elections, perhaps coinciding with the October 25 barangay elections.”

Vice Mayor Dominador “Jojo” Pajela Jr. made this challenge during the session of the Sangguniang Bayan on October 7 at the Consejo Hall here.

The challenge came after Councilor Harry Bernabe allegedly plotted to silence Mayor Revita or Vice Mayor Pajela in a text message circulating in the town.

“This is strange. We will not take the text (message) for granted. But I don’t believe Councilor Bernabe has a hand on it,” Pajela said.

Bernabe, in a privilege speech during the session, denied the contents of the text message which allegedly came from a person who heard him planning the plot and forewarned Pajela to take extreme precautions for his safety.

Pajela said that the rift between him and Mayor Revita started last May 14, four days after the elections, when Patricia Revita (wife of Mayor Revita) uttered unsavory remarks against former 6th District Congressman Conrad M. Estrella III, Abono Party-list Rep. Robert Raymund M. Estrella, Jr.and Abono Party-list Chair Rosendo O. So blaming them for her dismal loss for the mayoralty in the town of Balungao.

“It’s not Mayor Revita who is spawning disunity here in Rosales. It is the woman from Balungao (referring to Patricia Revita). During the campaign in which we were in the same party, we had a good working relationship with Mayor Revita. But that woman changed everything. She even excluded the name of Pangasinan 6th District Rep.Conrado Estrella in a program for our oath taking,” he said. We agreed to include my cousin Conrad in the program during the planning stage of the oathtaking, but they did not follow the agreement.”

A special election, Pajela said, will end all the misunderstanding in the town which is already affecting the townspeople particularly in the delivery of basic services. He dared Mayor Revita to submit himself to an election for mayoralty against him and whoever will lose will leave the town of Rosales.

“I will run against him, not his wife who was a nuisance mayoral candidate of Balungao. With that, we will have peace in the town,” he said.

After that incident in May 14, 2010 and after the town officials assumed their offices, the rift between Pajela and Revita has intensified.

Mayor Revita issued Executive Order No. 7 disallowing department heads and employees to appear before the Sangguniang Bayan for inquiries in aid of legislation without his prior approval.

The Sangguniang Bayan through the office of Vice Mayor Pajela was denied access to records of the town when department heads invoked the provision of Executive Order No. 7.

In August this year, Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine U. Baniqued, in her legal opinion declared the said Executive Order No. 7 was unconstitutional and illegal.

Earlier, Vice Mayor Pajela denounced the reported scolding and verbal abuse inflicted on his private media relations officer Jeff Calaoagan by Mayor Revita during the transfer of the Sangguniang Bayan’s properties to the new Consejo Municipal Building last October 2, 2010.

“Mayor Revita is employing plain and simple harassment and intimidation. That was Saturday and I was the one who instructed Jeff to supervise the transfer of those properties. Besides, those are properties of the Sangguniang Bayan that are to be transferred to the new office,” he said.

Even his personal secretary Carmen Bonifacio uncovered an alleged plot to intentionally bump the Grandia van of the Sangguniang Bayan she was riding.

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan passed Resolution No. 94-2010 which was sponsored by Councilor Mark Anthony Yu requesting the Office of the Ombudsman-Northern Luzon and the Department of Finance to conduct lifestyle check among the municipal officials, department heads and employees of the town.

October 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

Moving On and its Spiritual Dimension

( This piece has already appeared in the issue of Northern Watch Volume II, No. 41. It was written seven days after the flood of October 8-9, 2009. I am reprinting it here to recall what happened on those days and serves as guide for us to accept the wrath of nature. Indeed, after calamities come the trauma but we have to move on. On the other side of traumatic experiences, there is the spiritual dimension in which we have to work on in our lives).

The effect of the flood that inundated the 35 towns of the province to persons is enormous. Aside from psychological trauma, there is also emotional crisis particularly to those who have lost some members of their families and costly personal belongings. The saddest part of course is the thought that whatever was lost could not be recovered immediately and the thought of starting all over again.

But how can we really start again? How can we overcome the pain wrought by nature (Typhoon Pepeng) and technical flaws by the management of the San Roque Multipurpose Dam causing an unprecedented flood of great magnitude?

When I was in the evacuation center at the municipal hall of Villasis from October 8-9, many of those co-evacuees were saying that they lost everything. Some were crying over their lost personal belongings like appliances and jewelries. But there were also those who have sunny dispositions that instead of wallowing in despair, they could still manage to smile. Many of those said that they’re lucky to be still alive including their family members.

In times of disasters and calamities, those who have so much attachments to their personal wealth are likely going to have a hard time to move on. Those who take things in stride and believe on the power of faith on the Almighty could easily weather the storm in their lives.

These situations reminded me of a passage from the Book of Matthew of the New Testament when the Christ was teaching His disciples about judgment and salvation. No, don’t think that I’m preachy this time.

He said: “When I was hungry you gave me food; when I was thirsty you gave me water; when I was naked you clothed me; when I was sick you comforted me; and when I was in prison you visited me.” Many of those in the judgment throne will say: “When have we done all those things to you? We haven’t remembered you to be in that situation?” And the Christ answered: “Because you have done these things to the least of my brothers, you have done that to me. And you will be rewarded to go to my Father’s house.”

Christ’s message to Christians is simple. Helping others is more remarkable than having all the riches in this world. During judgment day, as most of us believe, those who are following His teachings will be rewarded with eternal life and those who aren’t will be put to eternal damnation. Christ shall not recognize our social strata in life- education, political positions, power and possessions. Instead, He will judge us according to our work – rendering service to our fellowmen without any compensation or reward..

The Gita (vedic book of Hinduism which is believed to be older than the Bible) has also this to say while Khrisna was talking to His disciple Arjuna: “Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes proudly perform sacrifices in name only, without following any rules and regulations.” and “One who is self-controlled and unattached and who disregards material enjoyment can obtain, by practice of renunciation, the highest perfect stage of freedom from reaction.”

In both spiritual books, material attachments can destroy our predisposition in helping others. Thus, people cling to their material wealth rather than that of trying to reach out for others’ needs.

The flood experience provided me new life’s insights.

First, we have to detach ones self to too much personal belongings. I am guilty of having many clothes that when they were covered with mud, it rendered me several days to wash them. I thought of disposing them soon to needy neighbors.

Second, in times of calamities always rely with your family. No one will care for each other except those in the family; and third, neighbors are of great help and refuge during disasters and calamities. Whatever enmity that transpired before these happened, in a split of second, a neighbor will always be there to help.

We have to move on. Life is beautiful!

(for comments, email me at

October 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

Abrenica recalls October 2009 flood

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS- A thanksgiving mass led by Mayor Libradita G. Abrenica was held at the municipal auditorium here marking the anniversary of the flood on October 8-9, 2009 due to the indiscriminate release of water from the San Roque Multipurpose Dam in San Manuel at the height of Typhoon “Pepeng”.

The celebration dubbed as “A thanksgiving, we survived typhoon Pepeng” showed how the townspeople and the municipal officials were united amid a calamity and were able to bring back to normalcy the economic activities of the town.

After the mass which was celebrated by the town’s parish priest Rev. Father Jun Laya, the audience was briefed by municipal engineer Vladimir Torres on the current activities of the newly created Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC).

Torres said that the Council has already undergone several seminars and trainings particularly on flood control system and information dissemination.

“We have ready equipments and communication facilities which could be used during the occurrence of a similar calamity in the town,” Torres said.

He also said that 70% of the calamity fund of the town will be used to purchase equipment and the remaining 30% for relief operations.

In the annual budgetary appropriations, 5% of the town’s total budget has been allocated to calamity fund.

In her message, Mayor Abrenica extended her thanks to all the people who helped in the fast recovery of the town after the flood.

“ Matapang nating hinarap ang kalamidad. Salamat din na hindi ninyo ako pinabayaan. (We faced that calamity bravely. Thank you for not abandoning me),” she said.

Mayor Abrenica also took the time to cite her major accomplishments in her 100 days in office particularly on major programs and projects – “Gamutan sa Barangay”, rehabilitation of cemeteries, agro-industrial project, rehabilitation of dikes and the ongoing construction of the housing project through Gawad Kalinga.

On “Gamutan sa Barangay”, Abrenica said that a total of 5,617 patients were attended to by free medical consultations and the provision of free medicines.

“Our medical team has visited every barangay twice a month for free medical consultations. We have also upgraded our medical laboratory at the health center with minimal fee. We will improve our health care system so that our town mates will have ready access to medical services, “she said.

She also informed the crowd on the status of the rehabilitation of the municipal and Catholic cemeteries with Phase I consisting of periphery fencing and concreting of pathways almost complete.

“We have already constructed “bone condominiums” (calumbarium) which will be the repository of bones of our deceased loved ones. This will decongest our cemeteries,” she said.

The agro-industrial project in Barraca village, she said, is undergoing development. This will house the town’s nursery, livelihood training center and motor pool for farm equipments.

She said that the livelihood training center will cater to the out-of-school youth (OSY) to provide them livelihood opportunities.

She also informed her town mates that the breached dikes in Lipay village have been rehabilitated while the slope protection consisting of gabions will be constructed soon by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“We are also declogging our drainage systems. In barangays, road drainage (canals) are being improved and rehabilitated. We have started the construction of three-unit core houses at the Gawad Kalinga Namnama Village in Piaz. On January 18, 2011, we will have a fund raising campaign for the construction of additional 120 houses in the Namnama Village, “she further said.

In an earlier interview in her office, Mayor Abrenica recalled the onslaught of flood in October 2009.

“It was unexpected. We were not expecting the flood to be of that magnitude,” she recalled.

She said that 1:00 in the afternoon on October 8, 2009, then Mayor Nonato Abrenica was conducting “Isangguni kay Mayor“in San Blas village when he was informed that flood water was already in Sitio Bulala in Piaz village. Mayor Nato immediately ordered his staff to rescue the residents there and evacuated them to the Villasis Gymnasium.

At 6:00 in the evening of the same day, the dikes in Tumana and Carmen East villages in Rosales were already breached causing flood all over the place. Water at the Agno River has reached almost to its brim.

“Flood water in Villasis was not that high until 11:00 in the evening when the dikes in Lipay gave way to raging waters. Mayor Nato had to asked help from friends for the use of their trucks to rescue our town mates in Piaz, Caramutan, Lipay, San Nicolas and San Blas,” she said.

She further recalled that she was with then Mayor Nato at the municipal hall monitoring the flood.

By 1:00 in the morning of October 9, 2009, flood water was already entering the municipal hall. Some of the evacuees in the municipal hall had to be transferred to the second floor of the public market. Earlier, some of the evacuees in the gymnasium were transferred in Unzad village.

“The flood water has caused us helplessness at the municipal hall. Power supply was cut-off totally and the generating unit of the hall bogged down. We have to face the situation. I recalled Nato to have ordered his staff to butcher a pig and cook rice to feed the evacuees, We also asked former Councilor David Obedoza to open his store for noodles and other food. We texted our friends for assistance which they did,” she said.

In the evening of October 9, 2009, then Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Mark O. Cojuangco together with reporter Ces Oreña Drilon of ABS-CBN visited the municipal hall. Cojuangco promised to send relief goods.

Flood water started to recede the following day (October 10, 2009). Evacuees started to return to their homes and relief operations started.

“That flood was a nightmare. We were not as prepared then. If that will happen again, we are already prepared for contingencies. We have learned our lessons,” Mayor Abrenica said.

If there were lessons learned from that calamity, Abrenica said that it united the townspeople and the readiness to help during calamity.

October 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

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