DECONGESTING UP DRIVE. Leia Castro reports that University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) Chancellor Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos wrote our city dads asking them “not to adopt the temporary one-way traffic scheme along the UP Drive and connected roads into a permanent one.”
I hope the city council favorably acts on this plea. The noise and air pollution caused by hundreds of cars daily traversing the said road has become unbearable to the UPB community. Now it seems to me that the greater issue here is not the choice of the best rerouting scheme for the city but the effectiveness of our local government in dealing with the thousands of “colorum” taxis plying the city streets day and night, as well as with the ceaseless issuances of franchises to PUJs and cabs despite the already excessive number of public transportations in the city.
FOR A MILLION DOLLARS MORE. Atty. Pablito Sanidad, in his “Overview” column, notes on the much ballyhooed GMA dinner in the U.S.A:
MALACANANG: Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez (Leyte) paid for the P1 million dinner.
MANAGER OF BOBBY VAN’S RESTAURANT: A woman with a handbag full of cash paid the $15,000 bill.
Rep. DANILO SUAREZ (Quezon): I paid for the $15,000 dinner.
Rep. BIENVENIDO ABANTE (Manila): I do not know who paid.
Rep. JOSE SOLIS (Sorsogon): They should increase our P70 M pork barrel. It is kulang!
Fiery Baptist preacher Benny Abante should deliver a sermon on "Stewardship" for his fellow legislators. The generous duo, Congressmen Romualdez and Suarez, must see an opthalmologist –– they seem blind to the greater need of many of their constituents along pavements and seashores who daily stare at empty, cracked plates on their outspread hands. Congressman Solis? Uswag Sorgogon!?
ECUMENICAL MEET. Nonette Bennett reports that about 200 spiritual leaders in the city representing Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Taoist and other religious groups will gather on 21 August 2009 at the Baguio Convention Center in a bid to help nurture a "Culture of Caring" in Baguio especially that our city's centennial is around the bend.
No doubt, some exclusivist groups of Christians who fear being stained with the "sins" of the ecumenicists will snub this landmark event. Never mind missing a rare chance to help foster cooperation among the pious on social programs –– they must keep themselves and their flocks within their tiny Shekinah–shrouded corrals safe from ravening wolves.
KUDOS to the would–be participants to this historic meet! KATOS to the other saintly herd! :)
In his "City on a Hill" column, Fr. Andres Cosalan stressed the importance of dialogue in relation to the upcoming ecumenical gathering. Says he:
Dialogue means that one is able to accept the other person as a fellow human being, a brother or a sister, though one may differ from the other’s beliefs and convictions. Dialogue also means striving to understand the other’s religious, cultural, and social situation. There is certainly something positive to discover in the other’s situation…
…dialogue does not mean that I compromise the truth that I uphold… [It] is a matter of balancing the search for truth and the practice of tolerance…
Dialogue is a sign of sincere searching for truth… It demands humility and charity on our part. Anyone, who has a “holier-than-thou-art” attitude and who paints other people as devils, obviously cannot dialogue.
AMEN, apo Padi!
GOOD NEWS FROM KALINGA: SORRY, NO RETALIATION BY THE TULGAO. Tribal "war" in Kalinga has often been sensationalized in the media. Some feared (hoped?) that the recent killing of a Tulgao tribesman by an ySabangan (Mt. Province) would result in an armed conflict. It is exhilarating to note, however, that lex talionis (the law of exact retaliation) has not prevailed this time: the Tulgao people have chosen to settle the case amicably. Local newsman Francis B. Degay shares the following detail:
Anglican priest Pablo Buyagan, a member of the Tulgao tribe, shared his observations while he attended the wake of Eusebio Dalicnog from July 31 to Aug. 3 at Tulgao village, Tinglayan. Fr. Buyagan said that there seemed to be a significant evolution of the Tulgao culture because the brutal killing of Dalicnog did not immediately call for revenge by the Tulgao tribesmen. According to him, the Tulgao elders have an option for a peaceful settlement.
In years past, several Tulgao had been feared by many in Kalinga, especially among the migrants from the Mt. Province and Ilocandia. Some members of this ethnic sub–group had figured in land–grabbing cases and had been dreaded for their pugnaciousness. To be fair, though, I know of many Tulgao who have consciously striven to be at peace with everyone and cannot be stereotyped as kawitan (lit., rooster; connotatively, "war–freak"). Nonetheless, this recent case is great news! It makes us more hopeful that Kalingas, long unjustly generalized by outsiders as war–like, will one day completely tear itself away from that unsavory image.
A CONTINUING LOVE AFFAIR WITH MARYJANE. “Government forces discover, burn marijuana plants in Kalinga,” jubilantly proclaims a news report by Gigi Dumallig which tells of 450 marijuana plants uprooted in Pinukpuk by a composite police and military raiding team.
I hope this accomplishment will not be dampened by a repeat of the Tinglayan "Maryjane affair" in which poppy plantations persist after repeated reports of uprooting and burning of these proud plants by government authorities. The problem seems to lie in the fact that after each raid, seeds remain in the plantations ready to sprout in a jiffy. There also seems to be a lack of alternative livelihood programs for the locals which make some of them unable to break up with their attractive lover. :)