Thursday, November 29, 2007

Editorial - December 1, 2007 ISSUE

Migrants’ Family Lights Up
Rural Philippine Village Life

How do they spend their money?
Every year for two days, a village in a third class municipality of Pampanga lights up like a nuclear reactor fall-out.
Smack in the center of a dark night sky over rice farms, hundreds of kilometers away from the provincial highway, Sta. Maria village glows and beams out light in a two-day party because of one family’s devotion to one woman.
That woman is Catholic Church icon Mary, the devotion to whom the Sunga family of migrant Filipinos has kept alive in this village for six generations.
“It’s not the barangay that directly benefits from it [donations by overseas Filipinos] but the Sta. Maria church where the image of Apung Maria [Mother Mary] is housed,” Arlina Sunga said at the plaza named for her husband Arturo who was murdered three years ago.
Arturo’s elder sister Charito had the plaza built to honor her brother. Since then, the plaza had been the center of activity every year not only to honor Arturo but, most especially, to fund the local church activities, Arlina said. Donations during the two-day celebration reaches to about P100,000.
“Everything is given to the priest for the needs of the parish. It has reached that amount with the influx of tourists and balikbayans [return migrants] of the town,” Arlina said adding that farmers and poor families also donate despite their meager income.
Still, it is the Sunga family, who reaches into their pockets to fund the celebration that is capped by nonstop ballroom dancing, which begins as the last sliver of light leaves the horizon. “This is just the first reason why we work and save a lot in the US,” Teresita Sunga-Timban said.
Sunga-Timban is a psychiatrist practicing in the United States. Her husband Demetrio, a surgeon, owns three health centers, headquartered in Michigan where the two also live.
“We have been coming in and out of the country at least twice a year for three years now,” Sunga-Timban revealed.
They fly to the Philippines for the fiesta in April, for her 97-year-old mother-in-law’s birthday in September, and for her 95-year-old mother’s birthday in December.
“We have to be here during those months especially now that my mother and mother-in-law are in their old age,” Teresita said. “Aside from the family being devotees, we also use the time as our yearly reunion with family and friends.”
This year’s fiesta reunited five of the eight Sunga siblings.


CHARITO WAVES off questions on how much they are spending for the two-day celebration, saying “it’s not important”. In 2002, according to Arlina, doctors in the US diagnosed Charito with brain aneurysm and gave her a 50-50 chance of survival.
“She promised that if she lived, she would serve Apung Maria,” Arlina narrated.
Hence, nearly every year since getting a clean bill of health, Charito leads in raising money for the village. Most of the time, however, she shoulders expenses from her own pocket, from her salary as a nurse in the US, and from income from a healthcare center she also owns.
This year, some of that money went to the checkered linoleum covering the cemented plaza the size of a full-scale basketball court, to the hired dance instructors and for the costumes of two dozen dancers.
According to Arlina, Charito and Teresita funded the building in 2004 for a much bigger and more concrete Sta. Maria church.
Arlina recalled when the village would rely solely on donations for the fiesta expenses four years ago.
“But now everything from the [money] collection bags goes to church since the expenses for the fiesta is shouldered by Charito,” Arlina said.
She was referring to the satin pouches carried by some of the dancers that paraded in the first street march every morning of April 29. After the priest ended the second celebration of the Eucharist that day, villagers lined up in a parade of a crowned image of Mary.
The locals, from little children to the old people, would go about from the church to the marker for the village and back. A marching band leads the parade where some dancers thrust the money pouches to villagers and visitors watching at the sidelines.
Another band leads the second parade at 8:00 in the evening and ends at the plaza, playing to keep people awake until 4:00 a.m. the next day.
“Nobody sleeps around here this time,” a villager says.
Fireworks display formally ends the celebration, at least for those still awake at this hour.


IT’S EASY to get to this village even as midnight arrives and for those nearly as blind as mice: just follow the horns and drums of the orchestra that the Sunga family hired.
Most of the familiar tunes are: cha-cha, mambo, swing, waltz, rumba, and pop music.
The glitter of sequined white and red gowns is also blinding, especially for those outside the low bamboo fence separating them from the special guests and visitors invited to the dance.
“A lot of balikbayans goes home during the fiesta,” Sunga-Timban said pointing out people in barong tagalog and ballroom dress: “He’s from New Jersey, USA; she flew in from New Zealand.”
One of the persons she pointed at sashayed towards her, stopped, slightly bowed and extended an arm: the invitation for a dance.
Sunga-Timban rose and tucked her flowing red gown on the heels of catcalls from Arlina and family friends.
At the instant the band played, Sunga-Timban and her partner joined other pairs with hired dancers –ten males in tight-fitting pants and ten women in blue gowns slit to the thigh– in beginning the night of revelry.
“I belonged to a dance group who would lead the dance procession from night until the wee hours of the morning. All of us young and old alike would tirelessly dance back and forth in the streets all in praise of Apung Maria,” Sunga-Timban said.
She resumed her pointing, mentioning one pair dancing as her childhood friends who are now US immigrants.
“She’s a pharmacist; he’s an accountant,” Sunga-Timban said adding these are Filipinos who are now US citizens but still go back to Sta. Maria village.
She pointed out that some of them, like other Catholic devotees, seek the intercession of Mary, praying to receive also what Charito did for her health. But for two days every year, at least, their dollars light up this poor village. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Demolish Bandstand
At Banga Town Plaza?

Mayor Antonio T. Maming of Banga, if money is available, will construct a canteen on the town plaza of Banga. He will also demolish the bandstand on the middle of the Banga Town Plaza and construct roofings around the same Banga Town Plaza. These are a bit of information gathered last week.
By all means, put improvements in Banga. However, let all plans be transparent and allow the community to decide on the plan. Is the canteen a priority in Banga? Is the construction of roofings over the town plaza according to the culture and tradition of the community? Is there a town plaza in the Philippines and abroad covered with roof?
Magsaysay Park, Kalibo is enclosed with fence and partially roofed around. Will Mayor Maming take Magsaysay Park in Kalibo as his model? There is already in Banga the Teodosio Park, fenced and covered with roof.
Bandstand on the middle of the Banga Town Plaza is one of the three structures spared from burning during the World War II. The other two are the Banga Public Market and the Roman Catholic Church in front of the town plaza itself. To demolish the bandstand is to erase history as well. Some great Filipinos like Jose P. Laurel, pres. Elpidio Quirino had visited, stepped and spoke on that bandstand.

Kahit Saan, Kahit Kailan, Walang Aasahan

Station Manager Butz J. Maquinto better known as Kaibahang Butz of RGMA–DYRU discussed the performance of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) in Aklan for more than two hours today (November 27, 2007) in his program “Ilitsahan”. For two hours, Kaibahang Butz received all complaints, problems, woes with the GSIS. Nobody who reacted with the presentation of Kaibahang Butz spoke any single word which appreciated or tended to appreciate any service the GSIS is giving them. Neither among the GSIS pensioners nor any member reacted to deny the negative comments imputed to the GSIS.
Kaibahang Butz invited those who received good service from the GSIS to speak out in defense of the GSIS, but nobody responded. Both GSIS members and pensioners complaint of the difficulty to access to the GSIS in Kalibo, the lost of records of payment topsyturvy record keeping, lost record of payment, shabby treatment of persons transacting business with the GSIS office and many others.
After hearing the GSIS members’ and pensioners’ worst experiences, one arrived to a conclusion that the only solution to redeem the collapse of the GSIS’s pretty image is the removal of the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Winston Garcia from the GSIS.
Remove Mr. Winston Garcia from the GSIS and its motto: Kahit Kailan, Kahit Saan, Maaasahan” may become a reality.

Ghost Delivery?

“Lapsus Calami” of Panay News in its issue on November 22, 2007 has alleged that there was P10 million ghost deliveries of “farm chemicals and fertilizers” purchased out of the Priority Development Assistance Projects (PDAP) of Cong. Joeben.
This is a serious accusation imputed upon Congressman Miraflores. This is revolting especially to the Aklanon farmers. Congressman Joeben, by all means, please explain your side. Kindly deny if false, accept if true. The P10 million, if that is intended for agriculture will really enhance productivity and net income of the farm families.
The P10 million if invested to develop and improve more our irrigation system will surely encourage the use of recommended farm techniques thereby increase both quantity and quality of farm produce mutually good for the producers and consumers.

DepEd Not DECS

DepEd means Department of Education. DECS means Department of Education, Culture and Sports. After the approval of the Basic Education Law which re-organized DECS and became DepEd, the functions on Culture and Sports were removed from DECS. Culture function is assigned to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), while sport function is assigned to the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC).
However, until this day, the DepEd continually holds sports competitions from the school, district, division and regional levels. Why does DepEd continue this sports and cultural competitions? This is a question only the DepEd top official can answer. In the holding of this sports and cultural competitions, DepEd raise funds for its expenses from the children or pupils, from LGUs and other government officials such as from the congressman.
On the days of the competition, classes are suspended. However, not all teachers and students attend the competition, but more of athletes and members of the faculty who are assigned tasks to do during the competition.
This suspension of classes during sports and cultural competition, holidays, fiesta and other destructions becomes impediment to the teaching – learning process. /MP

Gen. LiM: Withdraw Public Support From GMA & Form New Govt.

By Ambrosio Villorente

Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Gen. Danilo Lim walked out of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City and called upon the Filipino people to withdraw public support from Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and form a new government.
Sen. Trillanes, Gen. Lim and Magdalo soldiers were in the RTC Makati City attending the hearing of their case. They just suddenly walked out of the court room this morning, Thursday, November 29. Their guards just allowed them to walk out. The presiding judge asked them to return but they never did.
With former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, two Roman Catholic bishops, Trillanes and Lim marched to the nearby Manila Peninsula Hotel and held press conference. Gen Lim, in complete uniform, read his prepared statement. Lim asked the people to withdraw their support from the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government and form a new government.
In his call, Gen. Lim cited his reasons why GMA must be ousted such as the “hello Garci tape”, manipulation of the May 2004 election, the multi million pesos Bolante fertilizer scandal, Northrail project, the NBN scandal and others.
In Malacañang Palace, Arroyo who cut short her visit to Laguna, called an emergency cabinet meeting. She vowed to re arrest the escapees and prosecute those all involved in the walk out.
Sen. Trillanes, Gen. Lim and their sympathizers continuously occupy the Manila Peninsula Hotel. They are in command of the Hotel. Gen. Jerry Barias entered the hotel to negotiate but no deal, no negotiation. A warrant of arrest just issued for Sen. Trillanes and shown to him but it was refused.
Mariano Garchitorina, head public relations of Manila Peninsula Hotel announced, all guests occupants will be evacuated to other hotels in one to two hours. /MP

Baesa Parada Winners

By Ambrosio R. Villorente
Picture above shows “baesa” or raft is the 1st prize winner worth P25,000 in the “Baesa Parada” held in Libacao, Aklan as one of the highlights during their Municipal and Religious Fiesta on November 23 - 24, 2007. This baesa is a joint entry of Barangays Guadalupe, Ortega and Casit-an.
The joint entry of Agmailig, Bato-bato, and Can-awan - 2nd prize of P15,000.

A joint entry of Loctuga, Rivera and Rosal is 3rd prize of P10,000.
The prize was donated by Provincial Governor of Aklan Carlito S. Marquez.
During the fiesta celebration, the Arieta brothers were proclaimed Outstanding Libacaonons (Posthumos). The late Atty. Abundio Z. Arieta, retired as Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance, Manila; Artemio S. Arieta, retired as Provincial Prosecutor of Aklan and Napoleon S. Arieta was the personnel manager of the GSIS, Manila when he retired./MP

A Cebu Pensioner Accuses GSIS In Ombudsman

GSIS members and pensioners queing in a long line before the machine to activate their e-Cards in Kalibo, Aklan.

Dr. Rufina Ponce, for failure of the GSIS to pay her monthly pension, accused the GSIS with the Ombudsman of the Visayas. According to Gerome M. Dalipe IV, Dr. Ponce “lodged her formal compliant with the office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas asking the anti-graft office to look thoroughly into the matter.
Panay News issued on November 28, 2007 published the article of Mr. Dalipe as follows:

Doc To GSIS: Where’s My Pension?
By Gerome M. Dalipe IV

State owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is again under fire for failure to release the pension of a retired doctor for over two months already.
With this, Dr. Rufina Ponce lodged her formal complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas asking the anti-graft office to thoroughly look into the matter.
“Our client, a senior citizen and a devoted public servant, having dedicated the best of her years to public service, deserves better treatment and consideration by GSIS employees,” Ponce said, through the Aumentado, Duallo and Ponce Law Offices.
Ponce is asking the agency to release her pension within three working days. In another letter to GSIS manager Cecilia Gasendo, Ponce recalled how she complied with all the requirements and even secured an electronic card.
“The complainant personally made inquiries but was merely given the cold shoulder by your personnel assigned to handle her case. In sum, she suffered humiliation and pain by the cold and insensitive attitude of petty bureaucrats,” Ponce said in her complaint.
“The complainant, like other retired government employees, ought to be treated with more respect and courtesy due to her having served the best years in her life for our country.”
Ponce said she badly needed her pension to buy medicine for her heart ailment, which is even being “aggravated” by “unwarranted frustrations that (GSIS) has burdened her.”
“Our client is already in her sunset years and with it the ravages of nature for advancing age are omnipresent…and yet you had not seen fit to attend to her simple request of releasing what is justly due to her,” Ponce, through her lawyers, said in the letter to Gasendo. /MP

DENR Tells Aklanons: Build Houses In Non-Flood & Landslide-Prone Areas

By Venus G. Villanueva
People particularly Aklanons, should not build houses in flood and landslide-prone areas, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Kalibo, Aklan advised. This advice is issued through Environment Management Specialist Derlito Rico, noting that the continuous rains in Aklan now may cause flooding and in some areas, landslides.
“Do not wait for disasters to happen, stop building houses along riverbanks and landslide-prone areas which practice had been ongoing in Aklan, but when something disastrous happens, it is the government which is always blamed,” Rico said.
Rico said one of the flood-prone areas in Aklan is C. Laserna St., Kalibo where many urban poor dwellers build their houses along the Aklan River bank. The towns of Libacao, Madalag and Nabas are landslide-prone municipalities, said Rico.
He also said, continuous rains easily cause floods in Aklan especially in Kalibo, because of plastics-clogged canals.
“That’s why we at the DENR fully agree with the recent directive to promote the use of bayongs and paper bags when going to the market or shopping in malls”, Rico said.
According to him, the use of bayongs, or “tampipi” in Aklan, will eliminate flooding, free the province from plastics, and provide livelihood to buri basket-makers in Aklan.
Buri plants, whose leaves are used in weaving “tampipi” baskets is abundant in Aklan, and the DENR plans to include this plant variety in their reforestation projects.
DENR Secretary Atienza called on everybody to stop using plastics and styrofoam when shopping, and advocated the use of “bayongs” to protect the environment from the negative impact of global warming. /MP

IBF, WBA, WBC To Adopt Common Medical Plans/Actions

‘For Safer and Better Boxing Environment’
In pushing for a “better and safer boxing environment”, three world boxing governing bodies have agreed to adopt common medical plans and actions that will be practiced in all boxing activities—title and non-title fights—all over the world effective this year.
The “future medial improvements” were earlier agreed upon by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA), and World Boxing Council (WBC) during the Second World Boxing Medical Congress in Cancun, Mexico in April this year. This was confirmed in the recently concluded 45th WBC convention in Manila.
Three world boxing bigwigs—IBF chief Marian Muhammad, WBC boss Gilberto Mendoza, and WBC head Jose Sulaiman Chagnon—have gathered their heads together along with 300 doctors from 89 countries to support the following measures:

1. Confirmation of the official weigh-in to be held one day before the fight from 24 to 30 hours, as the most important rule of safety;
2. Confirmation of the mandatory 30 and 7-day weigh-ins as a priority to avoid dramatic weight loss;
3. Ratification of the proposal to allow portable oxygen to be used by the fighters during the resting periods;
4. Mandatory simula-crum before every boxing card for the paramedics and ring doctors to practice emergency solutions;
5. Develop specific medical examinations and criteria to evaluate boxers over 40 years of age;
6. Creation of a committee to implement different criteria to classify boxers into levels of competition with the purpose to eliminate dangerous mismatches when fighters of very superior caliber fight fighters of different levels;
7. The mandatory availability of two ambulances in boxing cards where two or more championship fights take place;
8. Confirmation of one-pound tolerance for female fighters over the official weight;
9. Establishment of a special committee to create technical, technological and certification guidelines for boxing gloves to evaluate brands, weight, color, etc.;
10. Creation of a medical manual and protocol for ring doctors with pictures procedure, diagrams, etc’;
11. Updating the anti-doping substances to test as well as EPO test. Reinforce the electrolyte program throughout the world;
12. Evaluation of the percentages of ideal weight limits 30 and 7 days before the fight, with a proposal of change from 10 percent to 7 percent and 5 percent to 3 percent;
13. Eliminating EEG test from the forms and will not be required anymore. A campaign to have boxers around the world receive hepatitis B immunization treatment to avoid contagion; and
14. To continue the project of creating the medical database with clinical history of boxers for the world.

More Pinoy Boxers To Fight For Championships
Good news for Filipino boxers. Games and Amusement Board (GAB) commissioner Angel Bautista disclosed recently that more Filipino boxers will be given opportunity to fight for Asia-Pacific and even world championships under the auspices of the World Boxing Organization starting next year.
“In fact, more Filipinos are rated in the WBO and chances are, they will fight for the regional and world titles in 2008,” said Bautista.
He said WBO is “very much active in Asia especially in the Philippines.” Bautista credited WBO Asia-Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo, Jr., a Hawaiian who speaks fluent Cebuano, for the resurgence of boxing championships in this part of the world saying “Panoncillo deserves all the awards and accolades he is reaping from boxing commissions in Asia, including the WBO which cited him for his big contribution in the promotion of boxing in our zone during the WBO convention in Puerto Rico (held last Oct. 30-Nov. 2).”
The Games and Amusement Board also awarded Panoncillo with Plaque of Recognition on Sept. 30 in Cebu City presented by Bautista.
The Philippines already has two WBO champions—bantamweight Gerry Penalosa and minimumweight Donnie Nietes.
Popular Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista also holds the Asia-Pacific belt in the superbantam weight division.
“There will be a lot of WBO championship fights in 2008. We are expanding in China and we are now in Macau,” Panoncillo confirmed. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Ro Manogbaligya It Ukay–Ukay
May isaeang ka eaeaki nga nagabaligya it mga ukay-ukay sa kada barangay. Isaeang adlaw, sa anang pag-abot sa andang baeay, naakig imaw bangud imaw pa eang man nga nag-abot ro anang asawa halin sa baeay ko anang ina agod mangayo it suea.
Dali-dali nga guin hakiran ko eaki it humay ro anang asawa ag ibutang ro mainit-init pa nga sabaw nga may eamhay nga kiniwang karne. Guin puga-an ko eaeaki it simuyaw ro karne. Sa anang pagkutsara, hakita nana nga butkon it eapsag ratong karne. Pinilak nana ratong suea. Sayod abi imaw nga aswang ro nanay ko rayang babaye.
Nagpanaw eon man imaw sa iba mang baryo. Naabutan imaw it gabi-i. Indi magsugot ro tagbaeay nga anang guin dayunan nga mag uli imaw bangud may anda nga patay. Idto imaw nag eobog sa duyan. Pag-abot it alas dose it tongang gabii, bumukas ro puertahan. May sumueod nga babaye nga naka bisti it saya nga umagi sa anang kilid. Owa imaw maka hueag. Matsa pamilyar kana ro saya it babaye. Anang guin bantayan. Nag deretso sa kabaong ro babaye ag guin hilap ro dueongan it patay.
Pag-agi it uman ko babaye, guin gunting nana ro laylayan it anang saya. Aga-aga eon mag uli ro eaeaki. Akig imaw nga guin singgitan ro anang asawa kon siin imaw mag adto kabii. Indi imaw magsugid.
“Lorna, boe-on mo ro sanduko ag bailan”, singgit nana sa andang kabulig. “Siin ka maghalin kabii?” pangaywang pangutana sa asawa ko eaeaki. Owa guihapon magsabat ag mag-ako ro babaye. Guinbo-oe nana ratong tela nga guin gunting sa saya ko anang asawa. Tamang-tama guid ro sukat. Owa eon makabalibad ro babaye. Anang guin gapos ro anang asawa ag guin pangutana kon paano maboeong ro anang pagka aswang.
“Pasuli-on ako ag dap-ungan”, sabat ko babaye. “Dayon paasuhan ag kon may mag-agi nga mga sapat hay eabo-on”. Guin obra ko eaeaki ro sugo ko anang asawa. Unang nagtunga nga sapat hay suksok, guin eabo. Masunod nga sapat hay itom nga kuring. Ro olihi nga sapat hay sapat ko anang nanay nga itom nga ayam nga naga lisik ro anang mga mata. Indi kana igpapatay ogaling tinigpas guihapon ko asawang eaeaki.
Sa pagkapatay ko itom nga ayam, nabati-an ro ogayong sa pihak nga baeay. “Owa eon ako it sueogo-on nga ulipon.” Ogayong ko anang ina. Halin kato, nagmayad ro asawang babaye. Agud makalikaw nga mapa-tapunan sanda, naghalin sanda it baeay sa maeayo nga lugar ag padayon pa guihapon imaw nga nagabaligya it ukay–ukay.
(Rayang sugilanon hay orihinal nga gin saysay ni Nanay Emma Bantigue Del Rosario kay Tita Linda.) /MP

PEAP Elects Engr. Fernandez President


Engineer Victory M. Fernandez, provincial engineer of the province of Aklan is the newly elected president of the Provincial Engineer’s Association of the Philippines (PEAP).
Elected with him during the PEAP year-end convention held on November 15 to 17, 2007 at the Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City are the following: Romeo S. Castro (Bulacan), executive vice president; Mario C. Silan (Cavite), vice president for Luzon; Leoncio V. Garucho, Jr. (Negros Occidental), vice president for the Visayas; Antonio Laurenciana, Jr. (Zam-boanga Del Sur), vice president for Mindanao; Charito C. Julian (Ilocos Norte), auditor; Josie Jean R. Rabanoz (Davao del Norte), business manager; Gilberto P. Mondez (Laguna), press relations officer. Jose Denis M. Naui (Nueva Vizcaya) and Gracianito L. Lucero (Iloilo), were appointed secretary and treasurer, respectively.
Aning M. Binayan (Benguet), Nerio Ronquillo (Batangas), Fernando E. Moralde (Southern Leyte), Constancio L. Rabaya (Davao del Sur), and Bernardo S. Dormitorio (South Cotabato) were voted to the Board of Directors.
Fernandez commended the outgoing officers for their performance, dedication and wisdom which he referred to as “guidepost in the long and winding road of service to the people in the countrysides”. He likewise expressed deep respect and admiration to them and all his other colleagues, likening them to “great solitary towers in the City of Davao, and more so in their respective provinces.”
Aklan’s provincial engineer for more than two decades, Fernandez in his inaugural speech, sought for the furtherance of the goal and aims of PEAP, now on its 30th year of existence.
He rallied PEAP members to amplify the provincial engineering profession’s contribution to the socio-economic well-being of the Filipinos; to continually evolve to meet changing needs of local governments, the public, and all other engineering stakeholders.
The new set of officers shall serve a term of three years, from 2007 to 2010. They were inducted into office by Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario, who tendered a dinner in their honor. /MP


Guv Tells Cattle-Rustlers: Reform And Engage in Sports


‘CONTINUE TO BE A ROLE MODEL’. Iloilo Governor Niel D. Tupas, Sr. (right) congratulates RP minimumweight champion Denver Cuello of Brgy. Tuy-an, Cabatuan town “for being a role model of the youth.” (Photo By Alex P. Vidal)

Gov. Niel D. Tupas, Sr. has urged members of cattle-rustling syndicate in Iloilo, especially in Brgy. Helicon, Cabatuan town to stop their nefarious activities, “reform and engage in sports.”
“They should engage in sports activities so that they can give glory to the province instead of shame and scandal,” Tupas declared on Thursday (Nov. 22).
Tupas’ challenge came after he learned that the reigning Philippine champion in the minimumweight boxing division, Denver Cuello, is from Brgy. Tuy-an, Cabatuan.
In a courtesy call in his office at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, Tupas praised the diminutive 20-year-old Ilonggo boxer “for bringing glory to the province of Iloilo.”
The 73-year-old governor urged Cuello to “remain as role model and inspiration to the youths in order to send a signal to cattle-rustlers in Cabatuan to reform and engage in sports activities.”
Cuello, fighting for Aljoe Jaro Boxing Stable in Binangonan, Rizal, went home in Cabatuan for the Nov. 18 burial of his mother who died before his scheduled defense of the national crown versus Cebu’s Rollen Del Castillo in Binangonan on October 28, 2007.
Tupas admitted, “cattle-rustling is one of the major problems in Iloilo. He has upped the ante for members of the syndicate who continue to disturb peace and order in the province despite his warning for them to stop their illegal activities.
Cabatuan gained notoriety as “cattle-rustling capital of Iloilo” even before Tupas assumed office as Iloilo governor in 2001. The PNP was able to neutralize the syndicate led by the Prion brothers after they were killed in a shootout with lawmen,
However, remnants of the notorious group continue to operate in Cabatuan and in nearby municipalities.
“I have asked the PNP to double its efforts and arrest the remaining members of cattle-rustling syndicate in Cabatuan,” said Tupas whose number one priority, he said, is peace and order. /MP

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Corruption Makes Filipinos Poor

Has any member of congress ever left the government poorer than when he was first elected to the position?
Atty. Allen S. Quimpo was already rich when he joined politics. He belongs to a good, moneyed and respected family in Aklan. But when he was first elected to congress, he was not a millionaire. His asset and liabilities showed as reported.
When he left congress in 2001, he was a millionaire! Did he save? Yes. He earned more, spent less and saved enough.
Vice Governor Gabrielle V. Calizo was elected to congress in 2001 after her term as senior board member of Aklan. As congresswoman, she reconstructed the Museo it Aklan, reconstructed Captain Gil Mijares Bldg., constructed Mayor Icamina Memorial Plaza, Bliss, Kalibo and established the “Kabuhi-an Center, Aranas, Balete. She also improved the lighting system in Kalibo bridge.
When she ran for re election in the May 2004 election, she was badly defeated. Did she become a millionaire for being a member of congress? Will a three year stint in congress enough for one to become millionaire? It depends. Perhaps Vice Governor Billie V. Calizo has millions already before she became a congresswoman.
In the words of Ducky Paredes of Malaya, “our whole system is corrupt. How do we change it?” He asked. Benjamin Abalos of the Commission On Election resigned his chairmanship because of the aborted National Broadband Network deal. Those governors and congressmen who went to Malacañang Palace, one day in October were given pretty paper bags filled with P200,000 to P500,000 each. Therefore, stopping corruption is very difficult. But this can be done with discipline.
In Aklan, 50 computers sets bought at P250,000 per unit were distributed among DepEd schools and districts. This kind of computer will not cost higher than P25,000 in any computer shop in Kalibo. The computers are for DepEd, but who provided them? Schools Division Supt. Victorina Laroza cannot reveal who bought and distributed the computers.
However, one thing is sure. The money used to purchase it is public fund and those who gained in the transaction must be public officials. Out of this 50 units computers purchased and distributed, the mastermind and his/her cohorts must have made P11 millions. This is only in Aklan. But how much overprices did they get from other provinces and cities? It must be billions of pesos. This single transaction must be making the Filipinos much poorer.

Municipal Agenda

Mayor Raymar A. Rebaldo has been awarded several awards in recognition of his outstanding performance as Mayor of the Ati Atihan town of Kalibo. One award given him is for his Municipal Agenda.
Inspite and despite of it, Mayor Rebaldo is also a daily recipient of negative criticism in line with his management of the affairs of Kalibo. The latest criticism that reached EF is the absence of preparation for the forthcoming Kalibo Ati Atihan celebration on the 3rd Sunday of January. According to them, until today, November 22, 2007, nothing is heard about the Ati Atihan celebration preparation. They wished announcement from the Kalibo Municipal Hall will be released on the matter.
Mayor Rebaldo is being criticized both in his front and back about the deplorable situation of the Kalibo Public Market. For the vendors and buyers, they have been in the rain or sun depending upon the weather while doing selling and buying.
Mayor Rebaldo is criticized also regarding the unsanitary condition of the slaughterhouse located in Tinigaw. He also receives negative terms on the system of garbage collection and disposal. The landfill in Bakhaw Sur is polluting the river and the road leading to it is about to be eroded.
How about the traffic? It has improved as far as the number of vehicles in circulation is concerned, smoke pollution has increased, congestion has increased, traffic violators had increased. All increased, no decreased.
Mayor Rebaldo can do more for the good of Aklan. He now represents Visayas to the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in the National level. With the assistance of his dear brother Randy, he will improve Kalibo and Aklan in general. Wait! His beloved mother, Hon. Jean A. Rebaldo will take her oath as Barangay chair of Poblacion, Kalibo and she begins discharging her job on December 1, 2007. They will be a family team to develop more Kalibo. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Sand Castle
On Boracay Beach

The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Malay, Aklan presided by Vice Mayor John P. Yap has enacted Municipal Ordinance No. 246, Series of 2007 that regulates Sand Castle making on the beaches around Boracay Island. Mayor Ceciron S. Cawaling of Malay approved it on July 12, 2007.
According to the ordinance, castle making “tinkers with the natural terrain of the beach” which results to the presence of irregular contours and affects symmetry of the beach. Sand castle is utilized as photography backdrop and for other purposes for a fee. Hence, sand castle making is now regulated.
However, for promotional and special events, sand castle making will be permitted subject to the application for Mayor’s Permit. It shall be conducted within the designated sand castle making areas and will not hamper pedestrian flow along the beach. The amount of sand maybe moved only within the three (3) square meter area within which sand castle is built.
Those who are found guilty of violating the ordinance shall be fined P2,500 per infraction. On the subsequent offense, in addition to P2,500, not less than 30 days imprisonment shall be imposed subject to the discretion of the court.

STL Dies In Aklan

The proposal to conduct test run on Small Town Lottery (STL) by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Aklan chapter is dead. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Aklan finally decided in Resolution No. 07 – 186 which affirmed, reaffirmed three identical resolutions of the Aklan SP approved in 2006 which all opposed, disapproved and rejected any application for the operation of STL in the province of Aklan.

Agricultural Productivity

AMWAY, in its one day farmers’ conference “Pataasan Ng Ani” presented its 300 products which included agricultural products.
Mr. Dennis Cacho, the resource person focused his three (3) hour discussion on the “power of 3”.
These are the APSA 80 for use as sticker for liquid fertilizer and pesticide, used as spreader and soil lossener/activator. Nutriplant – SD is enhancer for seed dressing and seed germinator, while Nutriplant AG is organic foliar fertilizer, yield maximizer and complete micronutrients.
Listening to his lecture – demonstration, one will realize that agricultural production and marketing to be successful, the farmer/operator must be among the best and the brightest person in the community.
Mr. Cacho’s presentation was best understood by a person who understands chemistry as he spoke of plant food such as the 16 elements and micronutrients. One must have mastered the four fundamentals of computation to understand the cost of production and income. This will enable the farmer to know his gain or lose in his farm project. The farmer must predict weather and climate. Plants and animals management are affected by the climatic condition. He must understand engineering as farmer deals with construction and farm machine. He must know veterinary medicine as he deals with livestock.

Why Production Is Low?

Several farmers complaint of very meager production. The production potential of his land even if he has followed all the application of recommended input of production to his farm is not realized. He used certified seeds on a prepared land for planting, applied fertilizer, sprayed insecticide to control pest. Yes, but are those fertilizers and insecticide applied according to quantity and time? Is the plant food made available to the plant? Is the time of pesticide application correct? Did you harvest your crop on its proper maturity and time?

Agricultural Technologist Need

Agriculture being a complex subject requires a combination of knowledge. Hence, the necessity to assign agricultural technologist to assist the farmers in their farming operation. Our LGUs are maintaining bunches of technologists. But where are they? Are they assigned in the barangays so that they are readily accessible to the farmers and fisherfolks for consultation regarding their farm problems?
If they are still holding office in the Poblacion of each municipality, it is now time to deploy them to the barangays where crops and livestocks are being produced. /MP

Sec. Duque III (DOH) Commends SWA–ILHZ Pharmacy

Dr. Francisco Duque III, Secretary of the Department of Health lauded the operationa-lization of the Southwestern Aklan Inter-Local Health zone IB Pharmacy in Barangay Poblacion, Numancia, Aklan. Secretary Duque made his actual site visitation in the pharmacy on October 26, 2007. In his inspection, DOH Regional Director CHDWV Dr. Lydia Depra-Ramos and Provincial DOH Representative (Local Health Assistance Division) Dr. Myrtle Pelayo joined Sec. Duque. Mayor Jun Legaspi, as the Chairman of the SWA-ILHZ IB, welcomed them during their visitation. The Pharmacy is one of the collaborative projects of the Health Zone agreed and supported by five (5) Municipal Mayors. It aims to supply affordable and effective medicines for the Municipality of Numancia, Makato, Lezo, Malinao, Madalag and other neighboring towns. Mayor Jun also informed Secretary Duque that the health zone is now operating Botika ng Barangay in every barangay which sells cheaper and helpful drugs. /MP

Libacao Celebrates Town Fiesta

By Ambrosio Villorente

In honor of its Patron Saint, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Libacao will celebrate its religious and town fiesta on Nov. 23 – 24, 2007, Mayor Charito I. Navarosa of Libacao announced. It started with the “Videoke Kantahan Sa Plaza ‘07”
There will be novena mass on November 23, mass wedding on Nov. 21, mass confession on Nov. 22. On Nov. 24, Solemn High Mass will be at 8 A.M. with Most Rev. Jose Romeo O. Lazo, Bishop of Kalibo as main celebrant.
Activities include the Baesa Parada on Friday afternoon, Nov. 23. This is Bamboo Raft speed contest along Aklan river and finishes at Poblacion. The factors to consider in the contest are raft construction, decoration and arrangement; use of local materials, artistry and display of agricultural products indigenous to Libacao.
Awarding of prizes to the winners of Baesa Parada is done during the program with Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores and Governor Carlito S. Marquez as guest speakers after arrival of all the participants.
Civic parade and program will follow after the high mass around Poblacion, Libacao. Mr. Raymond E. Cunningham of Cal Energy will be the guest speaker during the civic program. Engr. Gary R. Gaylan will introduce him. Outstanding Libacao-non Awards (Posthumous) will be given during the Program.
The Search for Miss Libacao is in the evening, Nov. 23. This will be held in Mayor Sol R. Legaspi Memorial Cultural Center, Poblacion. It will start with Doxology by Mr. Sony S. Delgado and Miss Feah Joyce Q. Remola. Mayor Charito I. Navarosa will extend the words of welcome to the visitors and guests. The reading of criteria for the search by Mrs. Rizalita Z. Dionela will follow. There will be promenades of ethnic attire, play suit, long gown and serenade. The top five will be announced. Then Mr. Raymond E. Cunningham of Cal Energy will be introduced to deliver his inspirational message.
Miss Dessy Mae N. Rebuelta, Miss Libacao of 2006 will do her farewell walk and speech.
Among the participants to the search, Miss Talent, Miss Photogenic, Best in Production Number, Best in Ethnic Attire, Best in Play Suit, Best in Interview and Best in Long Gown will be awarded. /MP

Lifetime Tourism Achievement Award For Billie


Last Wednesday night, November 14, in Bacolod City at the Nature’s Village Resort and Hotel, Aklan Vice Governor Gabrielle V. Calizo added another feather to her cap in the field of tourism. She was awarded and received the Western Visayas Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly.
The Western Visayas Tourism Assembly, hosted by the provincial government of Negros Occidental and the Bacolod City Government, reeled off last Monday, Nov. 12 in the City of Smiles, an annual event showcasing the diversity of tourism attractions, services and facilities of the different areas in Region VI.
In conferring the Lifetime Tourism award to Vice Governor Billie Calizo, the tourism assembly cited her achievements in the field of tourism. As a business entrepreneur, she was instrumental in making Blue Horizons Travel and Tours, Inc. the leading Filipino tour operator in Europe and for developing the European market for Philippine tourism.
Calizo’s Blue Horizons is a Hall of Fame awardee for inbound tourism under the Kalakbay recognition program of the Department of Tourism and the PCVC.
The Aklan Vice Governor has pioneered in bringing in the Russia’s tourist market particularly to Boracay Island, Aklan and to Cebu pushing an unprecedented increase in the number of Russian visitors to the Philippines. Calizo is acknowledged as the prime mover in developing the incentive and convention markets for the Philippines and was given the recognition by the Women in Travel for her exemplary contribution to the development of tourism.
The conferment ceremonies coincided with the Regional Tourism Awards Night of the WV Tourism Assembly which featured events like the Tourism Exhibit/Fair Travel Exchange/Mart, Regional Cultural Showcase, Tourism Forum, Search for Miss Western Visayas Tourism, Tourism Olympics, Parade of Festivals and Food Festival. This year, it carries the theme, “Entrepreneurial Tourism: Beyond Tourist Arrivals.”
The lady Vice Governor and Presiding Officer of the Aklan SP is not only a recognized industry leader in the field of tourism, she is also an accomplished political leader whose heart and mind are into the full development and progress of Aklan and her people. Be she in the Halls of Congress or in the Session Hall of the provincial legislative body, Calizo firmly believes that tourism is one among the surest means to economically uplift her country, province and her people. /MP



As one of the only few most prominent towering figures both literally and figuratively that graced the 45th World Boxing Council (WBC) World Boxing Convention at the Manila Hotel from Nov. 11-17, come-backing heavyweight champion Vitaly “Dr. Iron Fist” Klitschko easily got noticed by boxing fans both attending the convention and hotel personnel wherever he went.
As they mobbed him for souvenir shots and autograph signing, the 6 feet and 7 inches behemoth from Ukraine gamely responded with a smile and never showed any sign of irritation or discomfort.
“I love Manila; I love the Philippines,” volunteered the WBC heavyweight king in 2002-2005 when asked of his reaction to the avalanche of requests for autographs and picture-takings.
When he was fitted and awarded a WBC belt as lifetime champion emeritus by President Don Jose Sulaiman Chagnon in the gala night at the Intramuros hosted by the Department of Tourism on Nov. 12, the 36-year-old holder of doctor of philosophy in Sports Science (PhD) at the Kyiv University, vowed to pursue his dreams and that of his younger brother, Wladimir, the current IBF and IBO heavyweight champion, to become world champions together at the same time.
“When I was a young boy, I watched Mike Tyson fight and I told myself that someday I will be like him,” said Klitschko who knocked out 34 of his 35 victims since he began terrorizing his fees in the heavyweight division in 1996.
Originally a professional kickboxer, Vitaly was a boxer and won the Super Heavyweight Championship at the first World Military Games in Italy in 1995. In the same year, he won the silver medal at the 1995 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Berlin, where he was defeated by Russia’s Alexei Lezin in the final. He began his professional boxing career in 1996, winning his first twenty-four fights by either early knockout or technical-knockout (TKO).
He and Wladimir were hot prospects, and signed with the German athlete-promotion company Universum. With both brothers holding Ph.D.s and being multilingual, their charismatic, refined and articulate personalities made for mainstream marketability when they moved to Germany and Universum; in time, they became national celebrities in their adopted home country. In his 25th pro fight, on June 26, 1999, Klitschko won the World Boxing Organization Heavyweight Championship from Herbie Hide (of the UK) via 1st-round KO.
He defended the title twice before losing it on April 1, 2000 to American Chris Byrd; complaining of intense shoulder pain, Vitaly and his corner decided not to continue the fight after the ninth round. Vitaly was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards (89-82, and 88-83 twice), but the way he ended this match brought international criticism, and resulted in a reputation at least partially as a quitter.

Sulaiman Reminders To Ring Official

World Boxing Council (WBC) president Don Jose Sulaiman Chagnon has reminded ring officials—referees and judges—to observe the ring officials code of ethics adopted by the WBC or be removed from the list of certified WBC ring officials “and will receive no further assignments from the WBC.”
In his message during the 45th convention at the Manila Hotel before the start of seminar for WBC ring officials supervised by Hawaai’s Hubert Minn, Sulaiman informed ring officials from the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe that he “counts on the fact that your performance will be exemplary, and you will proudly represent our organization.”
Sulaiman also introduced four guides for ring officials: 1. Sudoka Puzzles, which are an excellent tool to improve concentration; 2. Pocket reminders, which are used to remind the scoring criteria that have been the norm in world boxing, and which have been standardized among all the WBC ring officials, searching for justice and equity when scoring a fight; 3. Self evaluation form to fill out and send to either the fight supervisor or the WBC executive secretary; and 4. Code of ethics.
The WBC president exhorted ring officials to strictly observe the following:
1. No ring official shall in any manner hint or directly solicit any promoter, manager, trainer, fighter or commission to be appointed as a ring official in any WBC title fight;
2. No ring official shall hint or directly solicit any WBC officer or member of the WBC Board of Governor to be appointed as a ring official in any WBC title fight;
3. No ring official shall accept any gift of significant monetary value from any promoter, manager, trainer, fighter or solicit from any promoter, manager, trainer or fighter anything of significant monetary value;
4. No ring official shall in any manner publicly criticize the performance of any other ring official;
5. No ring official shall in any manner publicly criticize the performance of any boxer that contended for a WBC title fight;
6. No ring official shall in any manner publicly criticize the appointment of any other ring official for a WBC title fight;
7. No ring official shall represent or attempt to represent the WBC in any manner other than as a ring official;
8. After an appointment to serve as a ring official in a WBC title fight, no ring official shall prior to the fight have any contact, social or otherwise, with any promoter, manager, trainer or fighter involved in the title fight other than contacts made with the promoter or promoter’s employees relating to travel and hotel accommodations, except when accompanied by the WBC supervisor;
9. No ring official shall engage in any conduct that will discredit the WBC or any other ring official;
10. In the event that any ring official is contacted by a representative of the WBC to serve as a ring official in a WBC title fight and such ring official has even the slightest reason to feel or believe that he or she can not be totally fair and impartial to both fighters, the ring official shall decline the appointment;
11. On WBC sanctioned events, no ring official shall solicit tickets or credentials to the local commission where the fight will take place, nor to promoters, fighters, managers or trainers; and
No ring official who is appointed for a WBC title can be seen in public places after midnight, gambling or drinking at any time. /MP

Suguilanon Ni Tita Linda

5 Brothers

My limang ka magmanghod nga puro gid sanda eaeaki sa isaeang ka lugar sa China. Pareho ro anda tanang hitsura, ogaling eain-eain eang ro andang abilidad. Kada isaea hay may kina iya.
Si Uno hay makatener it mabuhay sa idaueom it tubi. Si Dos hay makaunat it ag haba-on ro anang alima. Si Tres hay indi madutlan o masunog it kaeayo. Si Kwatro hay makatener man it mabuhay sa yelo. Ag si Singko mat-a hay indi madutlan o manina it taeum.
Nagpanaw si Uno sa Poblacion para manin-dahan. Pagabot sa banwa, may hakita imaw nga pahisayod. “ Kon sin-o ro makabu-oe it mga buea-wan sa naeonod nga barko idto sa idaeum it eawod, ipakasae imaw sa prinsesa. Tongod karun, eagi-eaging bumalik imaw sa anda. Owa eon imaw magpanindahan. Nag uli imaw ag anang guinbalita ro pahisayod sa anang ap-at ka igmanghud. Nagkasugot sandang mag-adto sa barko agud boe-on ro mga bueawan.
Guin eangoy ni Uno sa idaeum it eawod agod tan-awon kon siin na hamtang ro bueawan. Hakita nana. Bangud mahaba it alima si Dos, ngani imaw ro naghulikap ko mga bueawan ag dayon guin pasaka ro ba-oe nga may sueod nga bueawan. Insigida guin daea sa ginoong hari. Guin huyap it hari, ogaling kueang pa kuno. Guinpabangdan si Uno nga ginbuhinan nana ro bueawan.
Raya hay pakana o tukod-tukod eamang it hari agod indi madayon ro prinsesa sa pagpakasae.
Tongod sa pagkueang, guin sentensyahan nga paga utdan it ueo ko hari si Dos. Naghinyu imaw nga ma ea-ong anay sa anang ginikanan. Parabil imaw makabalik, nagpakita si Singko. Bangud pareho ro andang hitsura, owa mataeopangdi ko hari. Guin utdan it oeo si Singko ogaling, na bingaw ag nag dangae eang ro wasay. Indi madutlan si Singko. Nagmando eon man ro hari nga sunugon eon lang. Naghinyo man si Singko nga ma ea-ong man anay imaw sa anang ginikanan. Parabil imaw makabalik, nagpresentar si Tres nga dayon mang gin sug-an, ogaling, indi man madutlan it kaea-yo. Nagmando eon man ro hari nga e-frozen imaw sa yelo. Nagpakita si Kwatro. Imaw man ro natabo kay Kwatro nga indi man madutlan it yelo.
Natak-an eon ro hari. Nag paino-ino imaw it madaeom ag mabuhay hasta naka abot imaw sa desisyon. Ipakasae ro prinsesa! Ipakasae ro prinsesa kanyo? Nagka-sugot ro limang mag manghod. Guin tao nanda kay Uno bangud imaw ro una nga nakasayod sa pabando it hari. Pagka-sayod ko prinsesa, anang guin hinyo sa hari nga boe-on it hari ro ap-at pang ka igmanghud para mangin mga soldado agod maka bulig sa kaharian. /MP

Health Link

Empowering The Barangay Health Workers
By Cecille dela Rosa de Lemos

Some 100 active barangay health workers (BHW) attended the 1st Municipal General Assembly of BHWs of Balete held at Teodoro F. Calizo, Sr. Memorial Civic Center, Balete, Aklan recently. Mrs. Chona R. Custodio, Provincial and Municipal Federation President, spearheaded the assembly aimed to strengthen and systematize the barangay health workers services for their community. It discussed issues and concerns including the implementation of their benefits and incentives.
Balete Mayor Noemi C. Cordero, expressed her concern to barangay health workers. She recognized them as important partners of local government in the delivery of primary health services. Vice Governor Billie V. Calizo assured them of their Philhealth privileges. Celia R. de Lemos, Provincial BHW coordinator also addressed the assembly to synergize all the stakeholders in health development and in order to meet the demands of Republic Act No. 7883 with innovation and creativity.
Republic Act No. 7883, known as the Barangay Health Workers Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995 was approved in recognition of the BHWs services. The law will benefit those who are actively and regularly performing their duties as it will entitle them to hazard and subsistence allowances, trainings, education and career enrichment program, second grade civil service eligibility, free legal services, and one-child scholarship.
Moreover, Governor Carlito S. Marquez also approved Executive Order No. 12 on march 17, 2006 which provides health privileges and free hospitalization. The Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital will give 50 percent discount on total hospital bills of her spouse and children below 21 years old.

War On Worms

In connection with the Regional Launching of War on Worms (WOW) in Western Visayas, Gov. Carlito S. Marquez and wife Betsy R. Marquez hosted a dinner in honor of DOH and DepEd executives during the Kalibo visit on October 25, 2007. Assistant Health Secretary David J. Lozada, Jr. and company came one day ahead of health secretary Francisco T. Duque III, HNC DepEd Assistant Director Thelma Navarres, CHDWV Regional Director Lydia S. Depra-Ramos and staff. Antique Governor Salvacion Z. Perez, the person who steered the WOW undertaking in Antique also came.
In his corporate look, dressed in signature short sleeved piña barong, Gov. Marquez did his table-hopping entertaining guests led by Aklan Schools Division Superintendent Victorina S. Laroza. “The achiever” Aklan Vice Governor Billie V. Calizo came in attractive black and white dress.
In his message, Gov. Marquez discussed the medical tourism of the province of Aklan. His wisdom and business acumen conquered the hearts of DOH and DepEd people. Inspiring messages were delivered by Asec. Lozada, Jr. and Asst. Dir. Navarres on behalf of Dir. Zebuniza C. Abbas, Director III, DepEd. Dr. Victor A. Santamaria emceed the dinner program.
After the dinner party, a meeting was held among the municipal health officers who are Dr. Melanie V. Tolentino (Kalibo RHU), Dr. Athena C. Magdamit (Lezo RHU), and Dr. Levens T. Maravilla (Numancia RHU) with Asec. Lozada, Jr. and Reg’l. Dir. Ramos. Dr. Emma T. Cortes, PHO II, Dr. Victor A. Santamaria, PHO I, DOH representatives Dr. Myrtle Pelayo, Mrs. Zuela Calizo, Dr. Elepoldo P. Magpusao, PHO Technical Chief, Dr. Maria J. Magpusao, Ms. Celia R. de Lemos and Debbie F. Villaflor of PHO Aklan joined the meeting which served as an opportunity for MHOs to raise health issues and concerns.
Sec. Francisco Duque III was welcomed the following day by local and regional officials led by Gov. Marquez at the Kalibo airport from where he proceeded to Pandan, Antique for the Regional launching of War on Worms, a school – based Helminth Control Project of DepEd-DOH-UPM-Johnson & Johnson.
Pandan’s Liberman Sports Complex, jam-packed with mob of pupils and teachers of Pandan District, health care professionals and local officials, set the tone for the grand launching. Gov. Sally Z. Perez and Mayor Plaridel E. Sanchez VI who teamed up as hosts gave their warm welcome messages. DOH Asec. Lozada, Jr., DepEd Dir. Zebuniza C. Abbas, NIH-UP Manila Exec. Dir. Lulu C. Bravo, and Dr. Alexander T. Delgado of Janssen Pharmaceutica; the Partner-Recipients: Gov. Perez, Dr. Victor Santamaria representing Gov. Marquez, and a representative of Capiz Gov. Victor A. Tanco and Roxas City Mayor Vicente Bermejo.
Presentation of WOW-V was facilitated by NIH-UP Manila Deputy Dir. Vicente Y. Belizaro, Jr. The signing of MOU by WOW-V partners followed. CHDWV Reg’l Dir. Lydia S. Depra-Ramos and DepEd Reg’l Dir. Elnora A. Barrios did the Official Declaration and kick-off of mass deworming. Antiqueños got the best of Sec. Duque III with his amusing remarks and information on helminth control project. The people applauded him for every grant/assistance he announced. He also unveiled the perspective of the upgraded Angel Salazar Memorial Hospital. Antique Asst. Supt. Rhodora Napud closed the program.
Before flying back to Manila, Sec. Duque III and party visited the P139 million three-storey Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital, Kalibo financed by the MDFO-LOGOFIND.

Doctors’ Best Qualities

This wonderful doctor merits space on this page. I heard everyone’s heaping praises on Dr. Ryndell G. Alava’s power point presentation/lecture in a forum conducted last week at the old conference room of Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital. “Siksik ang” information but he made it easy and simple for the nursing students and hospital staff.
Not only that. His fellow physicians and patients have kind words for Dr. Alava. His genuine concern for his patient’s health and recovery most especially endeared him to these people.
Dr. Alava is a neurologist, epileptologist, and electroencephalo-grapher (EEG). He is a fellow of the Philippine Neurological Association. He can be reached every Tuesday and Wednesday at his Kalibo clinic at the 2nd floor of Kalibo Medilab, A. Mabini St.
More than just to practicing the profession, certain qualities make a good doctor – competent, employs passion, compassion, and prayer. Gov. Marquez commends doctors, the likes of Dr. Ryndell Alava, Dr. Ramonito Tubongbanua and Dr. Rane Tabañar.
The issue is simply good breeding learned in the universities of hard knocks. He either has it or he doesn’t. /MP

Mobile Clinics To Benefit Aklan’s Poor–DOH

By Venus Villanueva

If the setting up of mobile clinics throughout the country is realized, those who would benefit from these are the poor in remote areas who could ill-afford to go to private hospitals or clinics.
Dr. Myrtle Pelayo, Department of Health (DOH) representative in the province of Aklan declared, “if such clinics are set up in Aklan the province’ poor will have somewhere to go when ill and have no money to spend for consultations and medicines”.
Dr. Pelayo’s statement is in reaction to the recent announcement of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that she has authorized the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to release P100 million to set up mobile clinics throughout the country in support of the outreach program of the Philippine Association of Medical Specialists (PAMS).
In her speech, PGMA thanked the PAMS for conducting medical missions and self-help programs of the medical professions, “notably those that support our goals to curb the costs of medicines and bring specialized training to the provinces.”
On the setting up of mobile clinics, the President said Dr. Gerry Genuino should be thanked for following up the proposal and for initiating the Heal the Nation Now project that aims for physical, spiritual and political healing.
In Aklan, such mobile clinics are much-needed, according to Dr. Pelayo.”Government doctors are lacking in Aklan, especially in municipalities. Presently, Balete town has no Municipal Health Officer, while a hinterland municipality’s MHO is said to immigrate soon”, Dr. Pelayo revealed.
Dr. Pelayo said there are lots of private clinics and hospitals in Aklan, but the province’ poor can’t afford its fees, much more the medicines prescribed.
“Mobile clinics will be a blessing for the poor here. I just hope these clinics will have complete medical equipment so ailments of the poor could easily be diagnosed and treated. Medicines should also be available to the people who would seek consultation”, Dr. Pelayo said.
Dr. Pelayo is a member of the Philippine Association of Medical Specialists, which has a chapter in Aklan. /MP

Malay & Numancia Receive Solid Waste Mgt. Awards

By Ambrosio R. Villorente

“For exemplifying outstanding implementation of Vermi Compos-ting Technology as part of its effective implementation of Ecological Solid Waste Management,” the Municipality of Numancia, Aklan was awarded the “Certificate of Recognition” by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).
The certificate of Recognition was signed by Atty. Zoilo L. Andin, Jr., Executive Director of NSWMC. It was given during the 2nd Solid Waste Management Summit In Western Visayas held at Punta Villa Training Center, Arevalo, Iloilo City to Numancia Mayor Elverita T. Templonuevo.
In the National Search for Model Barangays, Barangay Balabag and Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan were both awarded under Category E for “examplifying eco-governance, community participation and stewardship by initiating a Community Based Ecological Solid Waste Management Program”.

Cleanest & Greenest

It was only last month when Numancia was conferred the title of Cleanest and Greenest Municipality in Category B in the Province of Aklan under the Gawad Pangulo Sa Kapaligiran by the Provincial Assessment Team. Numancia was Best in Ecological Solid Waste Management in Category B and Malay in Category A. Malay in category A and Malinao in Category B are Aklan’s municipalities with Cleanest and Greenest public plaza.
Banga and Ibajay were awarded Model Slaughterhouse; Malay and Altavas were awarded the Model Public Restrooms; Ibajay and Malinao – Model Public Market. Timbaban river in Madalag won the Cleanest and Greenest Inland Water. /MP

Southwestern Aklan Inter-Local Health Zone IB Conducts 2007 Adopt–A–Barangay Project

Picture above shows from (l to r) Dr. Flor Yerro, Mrs. Amelia Dionela, Malinao Mayor Dominador Ilio, Jr., Dr. Myrtle Pelayo, Mrs. Filipina Mabasa, Makato Mayor Jun Legaspi, Dr. Levens Maravilla, Dr. Athena Magdamit, Dr. Grace Tumaca and Engr. Lou Sta. Maria during the Tree-Planting activity in San Ramon, Malinao, Aklan on November 5, 2007.

The Southwestern Aklan Inter – Local Health Zone IB (SWA-ILHZ) headed by its chairman, Hon. Ramon S. Legaspi, Jr. held another health development project entitled “Adopt –A–Barangay”. Barangay San Ramon, Malinao, Aklan was the beneficiary of this program. The project includes tree planting activity, supplemental feeding program, deworming, immunization and free consultation check-up for the children.
The conduct of this delivery services is part of the annual integrated health plan of SWA-ILHZ that was prepared by the technical working group and approved by the health zone board. Funding for this activity came from the funds of the health zone contributed by five (5) municipalities namely: Lezo, Madalag, Makato, Malinao, and Numancia. The health board which approved this activity is composed of the following: Hon. Ramon S. Legaspi, (Makato)–Chairman; Hon. Elverita T. Templonuevo, (Numancia)– Vice Chairman; Hon. Dominador Y. Ilio, (Malinao)– (Treasurer); Hon. Rex T. Gubatina, (Madalag)–Asst. Sec. Treasurer; Hon. Victor L. Fernandez, (Lezo)–Auditor; and Mr. Josue T. Maravilla, (Numancia)–Secretary. /MP

POWER of 3

Power of 3 is a catch word to invite attention of people, the farmers in particular. Power of 3 is the recommended way in the proper management of fertilizer and pesticide the AMWAY is promoting.
Dubbed “Pataasan Ng Ani”, three products were discussed in a farmers meeting held on November 16, 2007 at Mezzanine Café and Restaurant, Kalibo, Aklan.
Mr. Dennis R. Cacho, an agronomist who specialized in agriculture discussed to some 172 invited and selected farmers of Aklan the three (3) kinds of farm inputs to increase agricultural productivity and farmers’ net income applied in accordance with time, need and procedure.
The three are: 1. APSA 80 for use as sticker, spreader and soil lossener/activator; 2. Nutriplant – SD use as enhancer, for seed dressing and seed germinator; and 3. Nutriplant – AG use as organic foliar fertilizer, yield maximizer and complete micronutrients.
Mr. Dennis Cacho, the invited resource speaker, did not only spoke for three hours, he also demonstrated the advantages in the use of the three AMWAY products in the modernization and increasing farming productivity and net profits for farmers.
Listening to Mr. Cacho talk on the use of farm inputs and watching him apply those inputs, will lead one to believe that farming must be profitable for the best and the brightest Filipino farmers in order to succeed. The best and the brightest Filipino must be encouraged to go to farming to increase agricultural production and net income. (By Ambrosio R. Villorente) /MP

Friday, November 16, 2007

Editorial November 17 - ISSUE

OFWs’ Money Still Short
to Spur Rural Growth


The spire on a Tudor-style mansion encircled by green rice reeds jutting from hectares of land in San Quintin, Pangasinan points people to where money could be found.
The house belongs to Marietta Reyes who, like many of the 5,000 Filipinos in this fourth-class municipality, has flown in 300-seater jumbo jet that may or may not have passed the sky above it zooming outside Philippine borders. Reyes and her family of four now live in Brussels, Belgium.
Their house is reputedly San Quintin’s tallest, residents there say. A walk through the poblacion (Spanish-era commercial center) offers guests a view of one- to two-storey concrete houses trying to outdo the Reyes’s.
San Quintin’s overseas Filipino workers who are abroad are credited for these changes in their hometown. Ditto for the learning center in Labuan village on the hillsides of a mountain –“Quintinians” from eight countries raised the US$16,000 required for its construction.
San Quintin is a town of Marietta Reyes: of many migrant workers. These images of migrant workers’ bounty at home are typical in Pangasinan, Philippines.
It has been this way for more than a decade with hundreds of villagers leaving for work abroad and religiously sending home dollars.
Yet, despite the flow, the whole of Pangasinan’s 2003 poverty incidence of 18.6 percent has been slow in getting reduced compared to its neighbor Pampanga (6.0 percent), which over 125,226 residents have been overseas Filipinos since 1988.
According to government data, Pangasinan’s temporary contract workers and permanent residents abroad number to 111,029.

Building frenzy

THE LAST bamboo stick fell to the ground as hired carpenters begin construction of a concrete house for Reyes’s neighbor two blocks away. The project is funded by the eldest daughter working in Hong Kong.
These concrete houses continue to mushroom in San Quintin and replace many of the village’s nipa huts that stood until the late 1990s. During the late 1980s, the land where Reyes’ three-storey house now stands was of a bamboo hut.
The construction Pernia cited as basis that international migration is lifting rural Philippines from abject poverty.
Pernia, who teaches economics at the University of the Philippines, Quezon City, also based his view by computing the impact of remittances on poverty alleviation and regional development.
Remittances, he said, have provided higher purchasing power per capita to the bottom 40 percent of Filipino households. Pernia’s computation also showed remittances raising consumer spending and investments in human capital and housing.
Such is why Filipino families, like Araceli Orante’s household, are happy with their economic bounty and marbled homes in San Quintin.
The Orantes are living in San Diego, California, USA and visit San Quintin at least six months every year.
They and other families of an estimated eight million Filipinos working and living abroad are credited for the second wind in the country’s real estate sector and tourism.
According to property broker CB Richard Ellis, the continuous “increase in OFW deployment supports prolong growth in demand for housing given the increase in disposable income”.

Frenzied building

BUT HAVE the dollars sent by Filipinos from abroad gone beyond their former farm-based families and spur rural development? Studies and anecdotal evidence provide affirmative bases.
Donations from Filipinos abroad support IMDI’s findings on how these help the top 20 provincial recipients via a government-backed program from 1990 to 2006.
Of these provinces, 13 posted lower poverty incidence levels than the national average. Apart from Pampanga and Pangasinan, provinces included are Benguet, Batangas, Zambales, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Rizal, Davao del Sur, and Negros Occidental.
Other provinces have higher poverty incidence levels despite having received remittances and donations from migrant workers, the IMDI study said. “It remains a wonder if migrants’ remittances and donations have led to equitable development.
The juxtaposition alone of data on donations, number of overseas Filipinos per province, and poverty incidence levels “do not provide a clear trend” of certain links, said the study.
But the Institute wrote that amid the continued flow of remittances and donations from OFWs and the multiplier effects they provide in rural communities, these resources are going to places that do not have “any larger, coherent local development strategy”.
Ang’s 2006 study found remittances have “mixed influences” on how these impact on economic growth in Philippine regions.
In San Quintin, the spire on the Tudor-style mansion of the Reyeses continues to spur higher economic status. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente
Is GSIS Anti–Filipino?

“The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is not anti Filipino,” explained a GSIS member. “It is the management which is anti Filipino headed by its Chairman/General Manager Winston Garcia,” he added.
This explanation came after a fellow GSIS member stated that the GSIS is anti Filipino because of the announcement “the GSIS has awarded the US $1 billion Global Investment Program (GIP) to the ING and Credit Agricole Asset Management.
The two GSIS members mutually expressed their disappointment over the US $1 billion awarded to foreign investment management firms. They cannot understand why the GSIS has awarded the money of the GSIS members to foreigners when the Philippines is strongly inviting foreigner investors to invest and to do business in the Philippines. After less than one hour of exchanges of ideas between the two with the EF listening, they finally agreed” the GSIS management is anti Filipino and not the GSIS itself.” Further, the two agreed the GSIS needs to restudy its policies with the view to rationalize it in favor of the Filipino, particularly to its members.

Still In Third Floor

In Aklan, the GSIS field office is still located in the third floor of the Aklan Provincial Capitol Bldg., Estancia, Kalibo. To recall, Atty. Jesusa Ruby A. Teruel of the GSIS, Roxas City Branch assured the Government Retirees of Libacao (GROL) that the “GSIS office will be relocated to the ground floor immediately as soon as a suitable space is available. The money for room rental is already available,” assured Atty. Teruel on July 9, 2007.
Until today, the GSIS field office in Kalibo, Aklan is still located in the third floor of the Provincial Capitol Bldg. Thanks to Atty. Teruel who is not capable to honor her commitment to the government retirees. Meanwhile, the government retirees and government employees who are soon to retire continue suffering the pain and grasp for air badly whenever they transact business with the GSIS, Kalibo ascending and descending the third floor of the capitol building.
In view of this anti Filipino policy of the GSIS and its shabby treatment to its members, there is now a deliberate, calculated, slow but sure move of the Philippine Public Schools Teachers Association to put up a DepEd insurance group and sever relation from the GSIS.
This is a sad development. It will disintegrate the GSIS into pieces. At present, members of the judiciary are not included with the GSIS retirement plan, it has its own. Likewise, the Philippines National Police officers and men are not insured with GSIS. The PNP has its own insurance group.
In her “A Look at RP Corruption”, Solita Collas – Monsod on November 3, 2007, Philippine Daily Inquirer cited “the multi-million peso GSIS e-Card project…‘won’ by the Aboitiz – controlled Union Bank (the Aboitizes are perceived by many to be very close to President Macapagal – Arroyo and the First Gentleman).”
Yes, but why did Mr. Winston Garcia place the money of the GSIS members in the Union Bank which has only a diminutive branch in Iloilo City? Corruption my dear? For any Aklanon whose money is deposited with the Union Bank and withdraw it in Kalibo, he/she must pay P12 per withdrawal.
This is unnecessary expense spent because of Garcia. Just select between the dismissal of Mr. Winston Garcia from the GSIS or transfer GSIS money from Union Bank to any government bank.
But let us watch for Winston Garcia has another focus. He wants to deep his “clean” fingers into the coppers of the Pag Ibig fund.

Congratulations To Jonathan and Noel

Congratulations to Mr. Jonathan Cabrera and Mr. Noel Cabobos for going deeper into the computer mess. This computer purchased at P250,000 per unit which can be easily purchased in Kalibo, Aklan at P20,000 is wholesale corruption in the Arroyo administration. Who is behind this anomaly?
This P250,000 per unit of computer is insult to the Filipino, an open defiance of auditing and accounting laws, rules and regulations. This is the work of a reckless, greedy person sans respect of the Filipino. He is greedy, “soeok, maakup, hakog, dalok” in Aklanon.
EF has started the exposure of this highly expensive computer in this column on October 7-13, 2007 issue in MP sub headed as “Computer at P240,000 Each”.


According to Dr. Victorina Laroza, Aklan Schools Division Superintendent, this system of schools prioritization and purchasing of equipment and materials will lead Filipinos to extreme poverty. Inspite of the efforts of Mr. Jonathan Cabrera and Mr. Noel Cabobos to report this matter to the DepEd through Dr. Victoriano Tirol, Regional Director, DepEd, Region VI, nothing is done to check the anomaly if not stop.
By way of suggestion, Dr. Laroza with the assistance of the principals of the recipient schools may gather this 48 computers into one place and request the supplier to pull it out from Aklan for the reasons as follows: 1. highly overpriced; 2. of very poor quality as some are already damaged; 3. Aklan DepEd and the Aklanons are not in a position to tolerate corruption; and 4. other reasons.
How about these Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores? Governor Carlito S. Marquez? Will you tolerate? /MP

PNP Lauds Boracay’s TSIP Edition

By Boy Ryan B. Zabal
Picture shows (front row) PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr. with Christine Roque of NBN 4, PNP Regional Director Wilfredo Dulay, Jr. of Region 6 and PSSUPT Benigno Durana, Jr. of Aklan with the members of the Aklan Police and Defense Press Corps during the Talakayan Sa Isyung Pulis held in Boracay, (Jun F. Villorente photo).
PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr. with Christine Roque of NBN 4, PNP Regional Director Wilfredo Dulay, Jr. of Region 6 and PSSUPT Benigno Durana, Jr. of Aklan (Jun F. Villorente photo taken in Boracay Island Resort).

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr. (front row) with Christine Roque of NBN 4, PNP Regional Director Wilfredo Dulay, Jr. of Region 6 and PSSUPT Benigno Durana, Jr. of Aklan with the members of the Boracay Special Tourist Protection Office, (Jun F. Villorente photo).

Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr. of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Public Information Office said the provincial episode of Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis (TSIP) held on November 10 at the Boracay Regency Resort “showed to the whole world what the police force is doing” to protect the tourists and visitors.
The weekly TSIP media forum is aired every Tuesday at National Broadcasting Network (NBN). It tackles issues and accomplishments of the local police throughout the regions from Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Cebu , Calabarzon and Cordillera.
With Pagdilao in the Boracay TSIP special edition were Chief Supt. Wilfredo Dulay, Sr., regional director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 and Aklan police director Senior Supt. Benigno Durana, Jr.
“Boracay Island was chosen as venue to showcase the active role and responsibility of the PNP to protect foreign and local tourists visiting the island,” he pointed out.
Pagdilao also lauded the Aklan Police Provincial Office (APPO) for initiating a weekly forum with the Aklan Police and Defense Press Corps (APDPC) as an opportunity for the PNP to talk about its activities and programs.
The PNP is embarking on a 10-year Integrated Transformation Program to strengthen the law enforcement capabilities and to improve the police force into a dynamic and credible organization, he said.
Dulay stressed the PNP tourist police should take a pro-active role to monitor and to coordinate with the immigration operatives and agents for the crackdown of overstaying aliens in Boracay Island.
“The island has a full contingent of special police force out to protect tourists and residents. The Boracay Special Tourist Protection Office (BSTPO) with other allied security forces is effectively managing the crime in the island,” claimed Dulay.
BSTPO, under the leadership of Senior Insp. Auxilio Dador, has deployed more police patrols and coordinated with owners of bars and restaurants to handle (prevent) crime. The prevalent physical injuries incidents are perpetuated by those under the influence of liquor, Durana added.
“We should realize that Boracay Island is a fast growing and urbanized tourist destination with downsides like crimes and influx of tourists. There is no run away crime in the island,” he added.
“The security of the island is the nucleus of Task Force Boracay in preserving, protecting and providing safety to the general public,” Durana stressed.
“The one entry one exit policy easily monitors those individuals entering the island and lessens the movement of cargoes passing through the jetty ports,” he said. /MP

Coercion of Victim, Not Movement, Key In Human Trafficking


RUBY, 17, felt her heart bobs with the ferry boat taking her and three other girls to Manila as she overheard their male escort described how “fresh and young” they were to another male passenger.
Then there were also the cursory glances toward her body –not my face, nor my eyes, she told herself as odd. She hugged herself tightly to bolster a belief her decision to work as a household help would raise her family from poverty in General Santos City.
From that southern Philippines city, thousands of kilometers from the capital of Manila, Ruby would have been sold –like others before and after her trip, she suspects– like merchandise in a trade profiting from human bondage and sexual slavery.
According to a United States Department of Justice report, the movement or migration of people is non-essential to the debate.
It’s the context of that movement or migration that is at the heart of the criminal sale of young women and children like Ruby.
“The force, fraud, or coercion exercised on that person to perform or remain in service to another is the defining element of human trafficking in the modern usage. The person who is trapped in compelled service after initially migrating voluntarily or taking a job willingly is considered a trafficking victim,” the United States 240-page report, released in June stated.
The report comes before nonprofit and anti-trafficking groups helping Filipinos like Ruby, like the nonprofit Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc., International Justice Mission, and Philippines Against Child Trafficking, take action against a formidable challenge in these times of free movements of people and commodities.
“Movement is not necessary,” the report continued adding that “movement to a new location is incidental.”
“Any person who is recruited, harbored, provided, or obtained through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, forced labor, or commercial sex qualifies as a trafficking victim,” the report noted.
It cited as an example a boy “forced to beg on the streets of Cairo or New York City is as much a victim of trafficking in persons” as the foreign worker brought to the US “on a legal seasonal farm work visa and then forced to work in conditions not described in the original contract, with the threat of being deported without pay if he failed to comply with the ‘new rules’.”
Hence, some of the nearly 3,000 Filipinos leaving for work abroad everyday could be considered potential or actual victims of trafficking, based on this view.


BUT THE US government report scored countries like the Philippines on the trafficking of migrant workers, citing that the responsibility for their protection lies in the source governments.
The past trafficking in persons reports “focused attention on the conditions faced by many migrant workers legally contracted to perform low-skilled work in developed countries but who were later subjected to fraudulent misrepresentation of work conditions, debt bondage, or forced labor conditions at the hands of employers in destination countries.”
The latest report noted that while the attention “focused largely on the responsibilities of destination countries,…research is showing that source countries permit or encourage some exploitative practices that either place migrant workers in involuntary servitude before they leave for work abroad, or place them in unfair debts that are precursors to involuntary servitude in the destination country.”
“Governments of major source countries of migrant workers have obligations to protect these workers’ interests by limiting pre-departure fees and ‘commissions’ to reasonable levels that do not contribute to situations of debt bondage.”
Of the 151 countries that the US 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report categorized, 27 were named as destination countries where migrant workers are subjected to trafficking or near-trafficking conditions like involuntary domestic servitude through the use of force or coercion, such as physical (including sexual) or emotional abuse.
Notable among these countries are Brunei, Iraq and the Solomon Islands, the report cited as “special cases”.
Brunei is one because, as a destination country for men and women who migrate legally from the Philippines and four other Asian countries for domestic or low-skilled labor. “The lack of reliable data makes it unclear whether there is a significant number of victims in the country.”
Iraq is another because despite an official ban prohibiting Filipinos from working there, workers “are increasingly coerced into positions in Iraq with threats of abandonment in Kuwait or Jordan, starvation, or force”.
The third is Solomon Islands where the report said there is “anecdotal evidence that young women from Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines, and Malaysia are trafficked …for the purpose of sexual exploitation on foreign ships and in logging camps.”
Government and NGO estimates on the number of women trafficked range from 300,000 to 400,000 and the number of children trafficked range from 60,000 to 100,000.
According to the US government reports, the number of child victims in the Philippines range from 20,000 to 100,000, with foreign tourists, particularly other Asians, as perpetrators.


RUBY NARRATED that she and the other recruits dropped the case against the recruiter who promised them P1,000 monthly salary as salesladies.
“They could harm our families in the province,” Ruby said citing that she submitted a bio-data to the recruiter who posted job ads in a public market in General Santos City.
“They have information on me. I applied because I thought they were a legitimate job placement agency,” she explained.
The other three girls aged 15, 18 and 20, shared the same process as well as fears.
Social worker Marichel Escalante, 26, who works in a safe house managed by the Visayan Forum, said 30 percent of the victims they’ve helped were being prepped for prostitution in Japan.
Since 2001, the foundation was able to assist 5,482 Filipinos tagged as victims of human trafficking.
These, according to Escalante, were brought to halfway houses they have established in four major ports in the Philippines in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority. The ports include Manila North Harbor, Batangas, Matnog in Sorsogon and Sasa in Davao City.
Visayan Forum president Ma. Cecilla Oebanda said the number of victims or potential victims of human trafficking may be higher if all the major ports in the country are being monitored well.
Of the assisted victims, 47 percent were women ages 18 to 22, the rest were younger men and girls.
These women were asked to stay for six months to one year in the country so that they could train first before they are deployed abroad, Oebanda stressed.
The region where most of the victims came from was Region 11 or the Davao Region, the foundation records show. It revealed nearly 20 cases on behalf of 57 trafficked persons were filed in courts since February last year.
The modus operandi of traffickers is to recruit young women, including minors, from the provinces and promise them work in Manila or abroad, Oebanda said. The recruiter will usually pay for all the travel and food expenses of the potential victims, further sweetening the promises.
There was a 15-year-old from Bacolod City whose handlers slapped her face, burned her with lighted cigarettes, or locked her in a room every time she refused to entertain a customer of the recruiter’s nightclub.
Most of the victims are transported via boats or passenger ships and always en route to Manila. Before leaving the port of origin, the victims, especially minors, are told to lie about their age.


IN THE recent launching of the Philippine Alliance Against Child Trafficking, leader Amihan Abueva expected no change in the intensity of trafficking cases this year.
Citing government records of last year, Abueva said that more than a thousand cases were lodged, half of which were from adult women victimized in the country. It’s the same trend we’re seeing this year, Abueva, who is also executive director of nonprofit group Ecpat International, Inc. revealed.
“Two-thirds of reported cases are children, though the figures are not a good gauge of the magnitude of the problem as many cases are not reported. The victims and those who escaped do not receive assistance,” she added.
Escalante of Visayan Forum advises women to acquire enough data on those enticing them with work in Manila or abroad.
“They should inform their parents or the elderly, get complete details on the recruiter, know the kind of work being offered, the complete address of the place where they would be brought, and memorize key contact numbers,” Escalante advised. Recruits should also share these pieces of information with their families.
As soon as the recruits arrived in their destination, they should contact their family and give them the complete address of where they are. Likewise, if escape at the port is possible, potential victims are advised to go to halfway houses that the government is building.
Aside from the Batangas City port, the Philippine government announced plans to construct new halfway houses in Zamboanga Port, Iloilo Port, and Lipata Port in Surigao del Norte.
Still, despite these efforts, the US Department of State placed the Philippine government under Tier 2 for not fully complying with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
The report recommends that source countries like the Philippines should “negotiate agreements with destination countries to obtain formal guarantees of their citizen’s rights while working abroad.”
The report also noted greater focus on the illegal confiscation of travel documents–passports, identity cards and airline tickets. This practice is used “as a means of gaining and exercising control over a victim. Without these vital documents, migrants are vulnerable to arrest, punishment, and/or deportation,” the report said.
“Foreign governments are encouraged to crimi-nalize the confiscation or withholding of travel documents of migrants as a means to confine the migrant or keep him/her in a form of work or service.” /MP