Mindanao Times » Ed R. Fernandez http://mindanaotimes.net Wed, 19 Sep 2018 01:50:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Plain and Simple: Landlessness in our country http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-landlessness-in-our-country/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-landlessness-in-our-country/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:00:06 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62049 Read more ›]]> Landless in a country of abundance? Why?

I thought landlessness was aplenty in Davao region in spite of the abundance. But I saw it in Navotas City. I was in Navotas for a seminar and up close I saw life at the side of the road to the venue. I saw the tall buildings from a short distance. But I observed the poverty on the side of the road. Young scavengers swarmed the piles of garbage at the side of the road like flies feasting on cadavers.

What a contrast!

This is the stark reality of poverty amid the land of plenty. These are the ironies we have to live through the years if there are no serious efforts to reconcile the gap between the rich and the poor. The phrase “the poor get poorer,and the rich get richer” will always be a reality staring us in the face.

Like a specter that refuses to rest, these realities will continue to haunt us if no serious effort is done to reconcile it.

Many of our political leaders in interviews with media confessed that they felt sad that our country is peppered with thatched houses of the squatters. Visitors from abroad especially from affluent countries see this contrast when their plane touch down at our airports. The houses of these squatters are an unfortunate sight to behold in direct contrast to the airports of our neighboring countries.

Sad, really. So sad. But why do we allow squatters to proliferate? Where are the enforcers? Last night I was glued to Arnold Clavio’s program where the two big guns of MMDA were the guests. One a colonel. The other a lawyer. They talked about how hard it was to enforce the law on the streets.

But no matter how hard, they had the will to enforce them. They showed clips of traffic violators and the kind of culture they showed. Truly hard. But they enforced the laws.

And the squatters? Government should be tough on them. But government should give them a place to live decently. Don’t relocate them by the hundreds, relocate them by the thousands. In this way livelihood comes naturally in the simple principle of multiplier effect.

When 5,000 families are relocated, we have a thriving community. Multiply the number of people living in the area, you will have about 20,000. Best for business. All underground economies will thrive. Believe me. Look at Cabantian.

And we will have a clean city. Free of squatters who will be living decently in their communities. I went to the outskirts of Talandang and I saw vast tracts of lands for relocation. Create communities in these areas and we disperse development.

Where do we get the money to fund the relocation? This is one hard question we have to deal with.

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Plain and Simple: Almost, but not yet http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-almost-but-not-yet/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-almost-but-not-yet/#comments Sun, 26 Aug 2018 16:00:46 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61379 Read more ›]]> The score: 82-80. The Philippine team lost to China with that score.

This was a miracle score for a team that was organized only a few weeks before the Asian Games. Reality tells me that China, a team that has been together for years, would even crushed the Philippine team. How can we hope to beat China?

With their speed, youth, stamina, ability, shooting prowess (especially the centers with heights more than seven feet), how can the Philippine team beat them. C’mon guys, be realistic.

But when we caught up with them in the last minutes of the third quarter, we stood and shouted from where we were. We could defeat China with this. We expected some miracles, and miracle it was with this score that ended 82-80.

That was more than what we could ask for. With a powerhouse like China, how can we ever compete with them? But hope springs eternal. But we should learn our lessons which means preparation from high school to college to the professional level as a team. Not individually.

And yes, one thing I noticed. Yeng Guiao is a better coach than Chot Reyes. He used all his players, trusting them to perform. He believes in them and this is very important in a team. And in building the confidence.

Imagine, the presence of Jordan Clarkson?

Yes, we have pinned our hope in him. But he is alone. We should also pin our hope in our team. But our Philippine team is just formed overnight like our volleyball team.

Miracles do not happen that way. Miracles happen when we prepare for years, not overnight.

China, Thailand, Japan have programs to train their athletes while in grade school. They have sports academies that we don’t not have.

But we hope. And with this new formed team, we hope. At least. But at least is not good enough. We should prepare.

But I enjoyed our games. I love to see them play. I salute them. I salute Yeng Guiao for his style of coaching. He should coach our team, not Chot Reyes.

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Plain and Simple: The murder of Ninoy http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-the-murder-of-ninoy/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-the-murder-of-ninoy/#comments Tue, 21 Aug 2018 16:00:29 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61270 Read more ›]]> I had just left the Brothers of the Sacred Heart that year (1983), and from Digos, I lived in Davao City for a job at a local college.

I followed Senator Ninoy Aquino’s life because he was a colorful politico despite his age. He was young, but he learned the political ropes so early in life.

Like any politico, Ninoy was a trapo (traditional politician). In fact I would say he was ruthless like his nemesis at that time. He had a way of campaigning that could be called unorthodox. While every politico was doing the campaign like everyone else, Ninoy took a different path.

I read a lot about him in books and magazines. I was simply flabbergasted by his gift of gab. He spoke so well and with substance. That was why he was always a hit in extemporaneous speaking.

He was a communicator par excellence and the great thing about him is he was so young. He was only 22 when he was mayor of his hometown and governor when he was 29. So young, and so politico. When he became senator, he was short of the legal age for the Senate. But he sat as one. This you should know.

But back to his being a perfect politico. Since Mr. Marcos saw in him as the man who could shake his presidency and leadership, Ninoy got the ire of Mr. Marcos. It was a long protracted battle between the two of them all belonging, to the same frat in UP.

Ninoy had issues with his brod. He was dictator and Ninoy was fighting for democracy. Dictatorship did not sit well with most of our Filipinos. So Ninoy took the side of those against the dictatorship.

So Ninoy fought the dictatorship. And for this the dictatorship of Marcos arrested him and put him behind bars. Ninoy was even convicted by the military court created by Mr Marcos to try him for many crimes.

Probably Ninoy was ruthless as a politico, but he had a conversion, a metanoia of heart.

While Marcos tried to break his spirit by putting him behind bars, Ninoy went to his faith to embrace his fate. Marcos could not break him.

To protest the military court, Ninoy fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and he collapsed later but his indomitable spirit prevailed. He was imprisoned in Fort Bonifacio. And here Ninoy argued with his God.

He finally surrendered to his God. So while in Bonifacio, he prayed his rosary. It gave him the strength. He suffered a heart attack while in prison and Marcos allowed him to undergo bypass surgery in the U.S. But after staying in the states, Ninoy decided to go home to Pinas against the advice of his peers.
But Ninoy was determined. He tried to find ways so he could go home. Read your history on him, you will know. That interview with Jun Tania of Radio Veritas says it all. He knew he would be killed.

But he went home. He only wanted to talk to Marcos, his brod, to restore democracy. But it was not to be. He was murdered in the tarmac of what is now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

At that time a sea of yellow welcomed him, with this song all over the country “Oh tie a yellow ribbon down the old oak tree…” The opposition at that time tied yellow ribbons all over the to symbolize hope and democracy..

The sea of humanity who joined his funeral show they were all there for freedom and democracy, not for dictatorship.

Today August 21, we remember. We pray for the man who fought with his life for our freedom and democracy. His sacrifice and his death should not be in vain.

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Plain and Simple: Sports in DavNor http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-sports-in-davnor/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-sports-in-davnor/#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2018 16:00:57 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61186 Read more ›]]> The LGU-DavNor headed by Governor Anthony del Rosario has just concluded a two-day consultative sports planning.

The governor, through the prodding of his sports director Giovanie Gulanes, wants a clear organized sports plan for five years. He wants all sports activities of the province calibrated and focused.

The sports planning was conducted by experts of Organizational Development led by Sergs Opena, PhD in OD with Brother Noelvic Deloria, SC.

Giovanie gathered sports coordinators from municipalities of the province and their counterparts in DepEd. We want a sports program that is wholistic not just medal driven for the province, and long term, he said.

The best thing about DavNor is it has a world class sports complex with clear and relevant programs. This sports complex is put up through the initiative of then Governor Rodulfo del Rosario. He loves sports. He believes in sports.

His son Anthony follows his father’s passion and dream. This is why he wants to make sports in the province with a very clear direction. He wants a best organized sports program.

Doc Sergs and Brother Noelvic facilitated the sports planning using the appreciative inquiry method. They followed the four-day cycle of planning.

In this method, it wants to highlight what DavNor has. All the practices that define DavNor’s sports program, and what the sports people dream for the sporting comunity.

The participants leveled off on understanding sports and the best practices of DavNor. They want to maximize what they have and to dream big.

So believing in sports as the main highway to developing citizens of this country, they started to build their dreams. Doc Sergs said careful with dreaming because they will really come true.

So the participants rushed to their groups and looked into their best practices and their dreams for DavNor sports. They acknowledged the leadership of the Del Rosario’s. The father and the son-RDR and AGR.

DavNor is lucky because it has very competent sports leader and a visionary – Giovanie Gulanes. Now this is unique and unusual because the sports office of DavNor is a department. Giovanie heads that office and while they have the programs, they are really not well organized and focused.

As of this writing, the sports coordinators of the province are crafting their vision, mission, and goals. Giovanie hopes with this sports planning, the province will achieve more in sports, in developing the human resource of the province.

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Visiting Bishop Abel http://mindanaotimes.net/visiting-bishop-abel/ http://mindanaotimes.net/visiting-bishop-abel/#comments Tue, 14 Aug 2018 16:00:54 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61088 Read more ›]]> Visiting Bishop Abel Apigo, the new bishop of Mati is an experience worth remembering, and writing about.

I don’t know if he was aware that he would be appointed bishop of the Diocese of Mati. Fr. Abel was young and he had a very crucial appointment as Rector of the St Francis Major Seminary (REMASE) in Catalunan Grande, Davao City

REMASE is the school of seminarians pursuing priesthood. This is where they study their theology and formation as priests. After college, a seminarian studies in REMASE. And Fr. Abel was the rector (director) of that seminary.

While there, Fr. Abel stirred Remase to be relevant and creative. He made sure that the would-be priests will have the most meaningful formation. And that prayer is the heart and soul of their priestly formation.

When there was this convention of all priests from Mindanao, Fr. Abel was elected president. He is younger than me but he was trusted by his fellow priests to lead them.

Very impressive. Mindanao is an island constantly haunted by conflict. It is a beautiful and fertile island and yet peace seems elusive for people living here. The challenge is greater for Fr Abel who hails from Calinan, Davao City.

His journey as a priest and as a leader caught the eye of the Vatican. The Holy Father chose him to be a bishop and to lead the flock of the Diocese of Mati. So many were surprised but they were happy to know he was the choice of the Vatican.

He is not gifted with height. But God gifted him with wisdom and the art of human relations. He connects with his priests and God’s people. His natural gift of person and brilliance cast him above the rest. Sui Generis.

I sought the help of a friend Fr. Pete Lamata, now the parish priest of St. Francis of Assisi parish in La Verna Hills subdivision, for an audience with him. Not anymore easy to just see Bishop Abel in his office in Mati because of his hectic schedule. So I asked Fr. Pete to arrange a sked with him.

Finally we were given the chance to visit him. He welcomed us in his residence in Mati with a snack and later, lunch. I was with Fr. Pete, his college professor at St Francis Xavier Seminary.

Bishop Abel remains the Abel that I saw in college, except that he has the stature now of reverence and power. But he is very simple.

I discussed with him and his priests the target of Chairman Ramirez to allow the children to play in his diocese. Bishop Abel expressed excitement of children in his diocese playing sports.

So in a short while, we will gather the little stars to play at the diocese of Mati.

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Plain and Simple: Catholic media and IRD http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-catholic-media-and-ird/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-catholic-media-and-ird/#comments Thu, 09 Aug 2018 16:54:38 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60984 Read more ›]]> It is important that Catholic Media understands what inter-religious dialogue really means.

So, Fr. Ritch Gamaya, the media director of the Archdiocese of Davao, and his team who takes care of the participants gave them an input on IRD (inter-religious dialogue).

Fr. Ritch invited Fr. Pete Lamata, director of ACEID and Aleem Adilao to talk about their experiences on IRD. Lamata is a Catholic priest. Adilao is a Maranao who is an aleem, a religious leader of the Muslims.

Aleem Adilao was accompanied by his daughter Norasia who is involved in inter religious dialogue in Mindanao. And Fr. Pete was with his staff in ACEID, Tony Apat. They engaged the Catholic media from all over the country in promoting IRD.

Each diocese has its own experience, but what Aleem Adilao and his daughter shared was so heartwarming in a country so divided by religious diversity. Fr. Pete gave them a theological perspective and papal pronouncements including the PCPII documents on inter religious dialogue.

The pax asked the panel with questions only they can faithfully explain; visiting a Muslim house, inter-marriages; carrying guns, among others.

Aleem Adilao stressed very strongly this point: “Islam is a religion of peace. It will not kill people nor be killed for Allah. ”

I think they were glued to the lecture of Fr. Pete and Aleem Adilao because they had questions during the open forum. There were so many questions, they forgot the time to eat lunch.

Muslim terrorists. They brought this matter of labeling people to the floor during the open forum. This stereotyping is unfair and unjust to both Muslims and Christians.

When Manila media reports of a killing in Mindanao, they always report about Muslim terrorists. But when Christians commit the same, there are no reports of Christian terrorists.

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Plain and Simple | August rush http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-august-rush/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-august-rush/#comments Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:31:01 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60831 ]]> Months move so fast. It’s August now, and it is only this month that stands before the ber months come.

For sure when September comes, Christmas songs will be played on the radio. I don’t know why we hurry the Christmas season when it is still months away from today.

August reminds me of so many things. I recall the movie August Rush that talked about music and the melody within. I had some happy recollection of that song, and I want to see it again.

August is the birth month of former OIC Mayor of Davao City in 1986, Zafiro L Respicio. He was Davao City’s elected Assemblyman with the late Assemblyman Nonoy Garcia.

Respicio and Garcia were our representatives in the Marcos parliament headed by then Finance Secretary Ceasar Virata. Marcos was the president then. But Respicio, the leader of the opposition at that time and a staunch critic of Marcos became the OIC Mayor when President Cory was installed to power in 1986.

Respicio was a very popular leader of the opposition at that time for his impeccable talent at speaking and for his brilliance. He was then considered as tall, dark, and handsome.

As a leader, he trained more leaders. That was what was so unique and special about him. I owe him my experience as his tourism officer at a very young age. He trusted me to take care of the city’s tourism promotion and we organized the Apo Duwaling Festival.

One morning, Zaf and I had coffee together and he asked me how, as a college professor, would change people’s lives and mindset. He told me that being the head of an LGU can change a lot. If you’re a teacher, you change a few, but if you are the mayor or governor, you change the direction of a city, a province or a municipality.

If Zaf were alive today, he would have celebrated his birthday this August 11. Another figure of the opposition at that time is Governor Cora Malanyaon. She will celebrate her birthday this August 22.

I remember Cora in her eulogy during the burial of Zaf in Makilala, North Cotabato. She said there is no Cora Malanyaon if there was no Zaf Respicio. Cora was grateful for Zaf’ s belief and trust in her as a political leader. Though she is a CPA lawyer, Cora looked up to Zaf for guidance and inspiration. She once said Zaf was a poet.

Another very meaningful incident in the life of the country in August is the assassination of then Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Without his murder at the tarmac, people would not have galvanized to oust a dictator.

August 21 is a day for freedom loving Filipinos. Ninoy believed in freedom and democracy. That was why he went home despite the threats to his life.

August is also the month for Filipino language. Will one language unite us as a people or will it divide us, instead?

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Plain & Simple | The art of column writing http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-simple-the-art-of-column-writing/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-simple-the-art-of-column-writing/#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2018 02:32:12 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60659 ]]> COLUMN writing looks easy, but it’s really not.

The column writer spends so much time pounding the keys of the typewriter when laptops were not yet the byword. He also spends a lot of his time reading books. Books not only to fill the writer’s mind but to fill his thoughts with ideas and concepts, grammar included.
Pwede ra gud magbisaya, pero bisan atong bisaya sa Davao way klaro man. Ug bisan bisaya basa gihapon ug research. Di gihapon sayon.
And really, as a column writer, I do not pretend to know a lot. Funny but the more I know, the more I really do not know. This wisdom I learned from my philosophy class while studying theology.
Maybe I can write well on the concerns of education because I have been teaching for the last 40 years. Imagine! Whew! That long! Every time I share my thoughts on being a teacher to teachers I would usually tell them maybe I will die as a teacher.
Maybe I can talk about theology because I studied that subject for so long. But like I said the more I know about the theology I learned, the more I am inadequate to even discuss about it. Ironies of life. Paradoxes of life.
But don’t ask me to talk about business. I am not cut for business. I tried so many times to be a businessman, but many times, I failed. I tried to read the business concept of Lee Laccocca, of Bo Sanchez, of the author of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. Wala gihapon.
And so I simply admire friends who are into business. They were not the best in class but now they have millions. One time we were in Cateel with Tatay Rene Lumawag and company. I don’t know why he asked us “nganong wala man ta nadato noh… dugay na man ta sa media?
I heard the comment, I did not answer. But I remember so lucidly.
Right now I have four friends who were not the best in our class but are now millionaires. They have businesses, though not big, that enable them to thrive economically.
But all four do not have the “time” and the “energy” and the “interest” to write their stories. They may have the riches, but when they go, nobody will tell their stories of success, stories that would surely inspire others to emulate their lives.
Their lives would be forgotten. To use the words of the late Councilor Tony Castillo, “their lives will be relegated into the dustbin of forgotten memories”. Whatever this is, their stories will be left in the cold of their pantheon.
This is probably one of the beauties of writing. We tell their stories and they are kept in the archives for people with interest to look into. And in the pages of these newspapers, their names and their stories live.
I love being a communicator, both written and oral. And this is probably a gift that I have developed through the years. Not for myself, but for the stories of others who have been very successful in life who do not have the facility to turn their stories into books.
I have done three biography books of people, and I am glad I have done them.
Column writing is an avenue where their stories are known. No wonder DepEd has scrapped one event in their press conference, the copyreading event.
DepEd has included opinion and column writing.

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Plain and simple | Grow where you’re planted http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-grow-where-youre-planted/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-grow-where-youre-planted/#comments Thu, 26 Jul 2018 07:39:56 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60626 ]]> A few months back I visited New Corella one of the towns of Davnor. I accompanied a friend who hails from there.

While enjoying the scenery of the barrio of the town, we saw two simple folks enjoying their own conversation over bottles of red horse.

One said, “pre kun ako si Digong, sulbad jud tanang problema sa nasud… sa druga, sa trabajo, kalsada, ug uban pa.”

“Mao ba pre. Bilib jud ko nimo pre. Bright jud ka,” his partner said who already finished one big Red Horse enough to open up his brain and his mouth.

The othet kumpare also consumed one big red horse and the second one was already half the bottle.

As we took our lunch of grilled bariles, law uy (veggies soup from the farm) and tinolang manok bisaya near their place, I asked my kumpare who they were. Neighbors pre, neigbors who just harvested their little yield from the gulayan.

The two earned P300 each for the gulay they planted in their garden. That money was actually intended for rice, half kilo of galunggong and the crayons and pencils for their children studying in the public school nearby.

So, their story continued.

Their discussion was getting intense as one poke a fun on the other because his shorts were not able to protect the private parts people should not see.

“Kun ako c Digong hutdon ko ng mga instek kay ang Pilipinas di ni ila.” The other one said “hutdon nako mga durogista para limpyu ang Pilipinas.” Looks innocent the conversation of two ordinary folks in the barrio all pretending to be leaders of the country.

We were amused at the sight of the two in the barrio payag intended for serious discussion. And they have consumed three big bottles of red horse enough to inebriate each one of them.

Since it was almost 6 p.m., they walked home wobbly over the intoxication of a beer intended to down any drinker.

When each arrived home, the wife asked him about the money and the rice, fish and gulay for their dinner. Nothing. Hurot. Consumed in a drinking battle. The child said “pa, I have important requirements to submit tomorrow.

The answer was simple. It was the answer I heard many times. Why did you not borrow from our neighbor? And answering his child, he told her “ah dagko na ang lubi, don’ t go to school anymore”.

And the cycle of poverty continues. My kumpare said di gani ma elect sa purok, presidente na ba kaha?”

And the SONA of the president? The president is 73. He is old and for sure he imbibed some wisdom. Trust him to make a meaningful life as president. I am certain, the president wants to leave a legacy- that he will be remembered to have done something good for the country.

By the way I also have stopped pretending to know the answer to our government’s woes.

I just want to grow where I am planted.

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Plain and Simple | Stories that linger http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-stories-that-linger/ http://mindanaotimes.net/plain-and-simple-stories-that-linger/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2018 01:58:12 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60522 ]]> THESE are stories that long for swift action. I was glued to Jessica Soho’s stories of challenge and pain last Sunday. They needed immediate attention.

One story is so near because it is a story of a blind man in Cocornon, Lupon, Davao Oriental. It’s a story of a coco husker. Completely blind, he works as coco husker to live and feed himself. By the way, he also cooks his own food.
He works as the coconut husker. Most Coco farmers want him to husk the lahing na lubi (matured coconut) because he does it with finesse. Those who think they are complete are so incomplete, not to mention inadequate.
Ironic. Just when you seem to have the complete senses, you lose to those who are incomplete. This story reminds me of Helen Keller.
Another story is the story of resilience and hope. It talked about “hope springing eternal.” Think of this story. It is a typical Jessica Soho story.
Government has been here. DepEd people have used luxury vehicles for their service, but a barrio in the boondocks of Caraga, Davao Oriental does not even have a decent school with pupils walking kilometers of dirt road to go to school.
Worse, they do not have chairs.
In that story accompanied and retold by Jessica Soho, pupils were crossing a treacherous river to reach the school. For years it has been like this. Jessica was looking for answers to our lingering question.
In fact, DepEd has chairs for them. But the contractor did not deliver the chairs to them. So the students walked kilometers of dirt road for eight hours and carried those chairs.
The scene of pupils carrying those chairs made us cry. I thought we have the best compassionate and dedicated government officials.
Sana the government can truly help them.

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