Isolated Ata Manobo villagers receive cash payouts for emergency employment

October 5, 2019

ASUNCION, Davao del Norte – As part of the continuous pouring of services and socioeconomic development in the recently discovered Ata Manobo village of “Sitio Tapayanon”, the Department of Labor and Employment XI conducted its first "Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program" (TUPAD/DWP) payouts for services rendered. Receiving salaries for a ten-day work amounting to P3,960.00 per worker beneficiary, the 100 residents of Sitio Tapayanon who benefitted from DOLE’s emergency employment program expressed their gratitude to the government for extending this kind of assistance to them. “This is (such) a great help. At least we have money to buy our (other) needs. Some time ago we had to wait for several months when our abaca is ready to be sold before we can earn a tenth of this money.” Datu Bansing Balanban, Tapayanon’s tribal chieftain, said in vernacular. Facilitating the payout himself was the Regional Director of DOLE XI Raymundo Agravante who, with his team from DOLE Davao del Norte Office, was transported by the Philippine Air Force’s Huey chopper in a 45-minute flight from the 10th Infantry Division to Tapayanon. “I admit it is our first time here but just the same DOLE have come, ready to give to you the services that you need. We will determine later on what else can be done to alleviate your situation and make your lives better.” Agravante told the villagers during a short welcome program. Agravante further assured the residents that DOLE will continue to contribute to the government’s agenda of inclusive growth through massive job generation and substantial poverty reduction while reducing the vulnerability to risks of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers. The activity highlighted the conduct of the Service Convergence Camp Heads of Agencies Ocular Visit spearheaded by the National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Noel Felongco. Other heads of agencies who joined the ocular visit include Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol, Kapalong IP Mandatory Representative Datu Arturo Davao, Department of Trade and Industry Davao del Norte Provincial Director Romeo Castañaga, 1001st Infantry Brigade Commander Col. John Oberio and 60th Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Gilbert Ombos. Said agencies—together with TESDA, NCIP, DSWD, DOH, CHR, and select LGU departments and civil society organizations—are expected to deliver their counterpart services to Sitio Tapayanon on the slated Service Convergence Camp this October. Meanwhile, the second batch of TUPAD worker beneficiaries from Tapayanon will receive their payouts later this month.  

A SOJOURNER’S VIEW: A momentous event for Mindanawon Artists

October 5, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 October) -- Waters.  What would Mindanao be without its waters especially the sea that surrounds the main island and its islets, the lakes (from where the name Mindanao comes from as danao or ranao or lanao refer to this body of water) and its mighty rivers that flow from watersheds in the uplands towards the cities of Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Pagadian and Cotabato. But rivers – apart from being bodies of water that serve nature and humanity in myriad ways – are powerful metaphorical images that help us conjure historical journeys as well as evoke memories that help define the interiority of our identity as a people with our own distinct cultural legacies. Comes now the First Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit and Conferences (MAFEC or as it is referered to now, MindanaoArt). It had a grand opening at the Atrium of Gaisano Mall, Davao City on Friday, October 4. The exhibit runs for two days on October 5-6, with a confrence on Saturday – Mindanao Art Talk – at the Philippine Women’s College.  This event is centered on the theme – “Traversing the River of Creative Generations” as it “recognizes the role of the rivers abundant in the Davao region in the flourishing of life and development.” As soon as one enters the exhibit space, one reads journalist-artist Stella Estremera’s text on the exhibit’s theme relating rivers to the world of art that embraces the  whole physical, historical, ethnographic richness of Mindanao.  As the viewer walks further down the corridor, one is confronted with “The Silent Witness”  a two-panel mural done in oil that serves as the central piece of the exhibit highlighting its theme.  This is an awesome art work produced by an art collective known as Piguras Davao composed of Dominic Turno, Alfred Galvez, Rey Bollozos, Rene Pilapil, Dominic Pilapil, Bryan Cabrera, Kim Vale, Mark Tolentino, King Nelson Duyan, and Raymund Ric Bisnar. As meticulously explained by anthropologist Vinci Bueza of the Ateneo de Davao University, this panel  “measuring 6 feet  by 20 feet each, takes its inspiration from the rich history of Davao, including indigenous mythologies, popular culture, and surreal symbolisms.”  If the Davao City government is serious about putting up a grand museum inside People’s Park, they should already make sure to acquire the rights of the two-panel work so it can find a pride of place in the museum’s gallery. That would be a great way to pay homage to our local artists and make sure the generations to come have a glimpse into the uniqueness of Mindanao visual art. Conceptualized about three years ago by Kublai Millan – Davao’s distinguished sculptor-painter,  Stella Estremera and their visual artists’ group known as Lawig-Diwa, this event was meant “to pave the way in building a sustainable art industry for talented creators in the region... as well as to provide avenues to Mindanawon artists, both established and emerging, to display their works to reach and inspire diverse audiences of all ages and make Mindanao artists be recognized further into the burgeoning Philippine art scene.” As one enters the exhibit space,  one gets to see a poster of photos of the art conference speakers -- Vim Nadera,  Elba Cruz, Gerry Leonardo, Cid Reyes, Leeroy New, Dominic Rubio, Rosalie Zerrudo, Riel Hilario, Pope Dalisay, Jack Teotico and Melissa Yeung-Yap. MindanaoArt is certainly a major breakthrough for Mindanawon artists. While there have been previous attempts to bring together our local artists at various exhibits, MindanaoArt is unique as it provides a venue for Mindanawon artists’ works to interface with their counterparts from other parts of the country, while also providing a forum to discourse on the state of Philippine/Mindanawon visual art as well as build artists’ networks for mutual inspiration, encouragement and support.  One can only hope that in the coming years, there will be a second and third MindanaoArt despite the fact that organizing such a momentous event requires so much time, effort, financial resources and human labor and expertise. To view the more than a hundred art pieces representing the various visual art forms – from sculptures to paintings, photographs to art installations – one needs a full day to fully appreciate the richness of the collection put together by Lawig-Diwa and those who helped curate this exhibit. Depending on the viewers’ world view,  exposure to the whole range of art forms, interests in the field of visual arts, what they desire as collectors as well as their political stance, there are works in the exhibit that they would be attracted to. Some are much more visually attractive than others, there are those that are the quintessential art profiling the Moro and Lumad realities, in some  cases social realism interfaces with the surreal, a  cluster tapping into the rich colors of the earth and a few attempts at making political statements. A friend noted that MindanaoArt involved the works of at least 67 Mindanawon artists, 38 from Davao and 29 from Butuan, Zamboanga, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro. What stands out for me are a number of works. Already I mentioned the two-panel mural which combines symbolic art with the fields of history, anthropology, geology, folkloric literature and socio-economic realities of Mindanao. Another cluster that is most striking is the collection of the Talaandig Lumad artists. Using soil as their medium, they have developed an artistic technology tapping into the hues of the earth for their  paintings which encompass themes of their mythologies, indigenous beliefs, cultural legacies and discourses on Lumad cultural erosions and  ecological degradation. There is also the cluster that is perhaps the only one that has a strong political comment on Mindanao realities today.  Conceptualized and executed by Cagayan de Oro artists Nic Aca and Froilan Gallardo, this cluster is made up of blown-up photos of the Marawi Seige (by Gallardo), wood intermedia works and a video art performance (by Aca).  Froilan’s huge photo is most striking as it combines bright colors emerging out of a war-torn locale, capturing the contradictions arising out of armed conflict. Aca’s filmed art performance (mounted at an art exhibit in Bangladesh) is  a ten-minute performance that can break one’s heart. His wood intermedia  work titled “Change” is perhaps the strongest political message in this whole collection.   Feminists would easily flock to Rosalie Zerrudo’s corner with three art installations made up of embroidered images of the vagina done by women prisoners in an Iloilo jail, most of whom are incarcerated for various crimes, especially related to drugs.  While one easily thinks this is inspired by The Vagina Monologues, the three pieces in this exhibit have their own unique representations.  One has to see these to appreciate the work that have been exerted to come up with the art work. While seemingly whimsical and capricious with the use of bright colors and erotic images, a viewer can also discern the fury behind those embroidered pieces put together by Zerrudo as a statement to champion women’s concerns in a still misogynistic society. There is a cluster from Zamboanga; Kiko Miranda’s black-and-white works combining fishes and eyes are most striking. The sculptors are also a sight to see, combing pieces constituted by different materials (from wood to metal, driftwood to cement,  stonecast resin reinforced by fibreglass to glass), content (from Lumad mythologies e..g. the ever present Mebuyan to nature studies) and styles (from realistic to surreal).  There is even a sculpture-cum-art installation done by Noi Narciso who fashioned a musical instrument from all kinds of junk.  Kids – and even adults who are young-at-heart – can easily be fascinated with this art serving as a unique musical instrument. But of course the local masters of Davao who are now making waves in the art scene with collectors beginning to acquire their pieces – the likes of Kublai Milan, Anoy Catague, Madeline dela Rosa, Ronald Gaspe, Roland Delara, Waway Saway and his nephew R.J. Sumingsang, Mark Tolentino. Victor Secuya and the various painters’ groups working as collective. Part of MindanaoArt’s goal is “to build an industry so that the artists can now make more art ng hindi nagugutom” (while not being starved) and so MindanaoArt is doing its best to bring in the collectors.” One can only admire the Lawig-Diwa group for its efforts at organizing MindanaoArt. We salute them and wish them luck for more MindanaoArt productions in the coming years.  However, it will be good for the organizers to listen to the feedback of the viewers who share their passion and would like to see MindanaoArt flourish even further in the years to come.  If MindanaoArt is truly representative of the richness of Mindanawon art, it would do well to have more Lumad and Moro  artists participating.  In this first one, a Moro art perspective was hardly represented and except for the Talaandigs, same goes to the Lumad.  And it is not as if there are no Moro and Lumad artists all across the island. Perhaps part of what is needed is to expand the network of artists across Mindanao with extra effort to bring in other Lumad artists, e.g. Carlito Camahalan, a Manobo from Agusan who recently exhibited in New York. There are many others like him from among the Lumad communities. There is also need to check out from among the Tausogs, Maguindanao, Maranaws, Iranun, Kagan, Yakan and other Islamized ethnolingustic groups. The fact of the matter is that they are the first Mindanawon artists from way back the pre-conquest years and their art continues to be sustained up to now. Perhaps what is needed is to expand on the horizon of MindanaoArt to not just privilege lowland recognized artists but expand its range to accommodate what is pejoratively referred to as “folk art” but which are truly art works that have survived through a long period of time despite colonization. For after all, like the rivers of Mindanao flowing through time, the memories of our Lumad and Moro artists of their artistic legacies continue to flow into what are still produced and reproduced in their communities. And one only needs to view the richness of handwoven textiles to the weapons of the pandays to the brasswork of the musical instruments to be fully convinced that long before migrant settlers and the ensuing migrant stock produced art in Mindanao, our Moro and Lumad ancestors have produced the best of art anchored in the beauty of the earth!  [Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is the most prolific Mindanawon book author, having written at least 22 books since 1985, including “Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations,” two books on Davao history, and “Ordinary Lives, Lived Extraordinarily – Mindanawon Profiles” launched in February 2019. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw)]

Where is Mindanao art in the Philippine art scene? Visit the 1st Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit

October 4, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 October) – “Where is Mindanao in the Philippine art scene? Is there such a thing as Mindanao art?” Visit Davao City on October 5 and 6 for the 1st Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit (MindanaoArt) and find out the answers to these questions posed by Vim Nadera, Father of Performance Poetry and Director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing. “Traversing the River of Creativity” is the theme of MindanaoArt which will feature a main exhibit at the atrium of Gaisano Mall on October 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a conference open to the public at the RSM Events Center of the Philippine Women’s College on October 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are also satellite exhibits in the city’s art galleries and a hotel in Davao City. The main exhibit will feature at least 67 artists from ten art galleries and groups – six from Davao and one each from Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and Bukidnon. From the exhibit notes, MindaNews counted at least 38 participating artists from Davao City and 29 from the other parts of Mindanao. Nadera, who will keynote the conference on October 5, gave a preview of his talk during the press conference Thursday afternoon. “As an outsider,” he said, he would ask “where is Mindanao in the Philippine art scene? Is there such thing as Mindanao art? As a writer, I’ll be asking where is Mindanao in Philippine literature … in Philippine dance … in Philippine music … in Philippine theatre … in Philippine film … in Philippine culinary arts? Where is Mindanao in, of course, the visual arts?” Nadera also wants to know who is a Mindanao artist. “How would you define a Mindanao artist? Should he or she be a Lumad? Should he or she be a Muslim? Or should he or she be a langyaw or a settler or a tagalabas, a migrant?” “Sila’y atong paadtuon diri” MindanaoArt is a project of Lakbay-Diwa, a Davao City-based organization promoting art and helping artists. Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” Millan, famous for his huge sculptural pieces and art installations that have become landmarks not only in Davao City but in other parts of Mindanao is its President, and Stella Estremera, former Sun.Star Davao editor in chief who continues to write a column for the paper, is its secretary/treasurer. In a pre-event video, Millan said collectors, owners of art galleries, and art patrons in Manila “would all come down to Mindanao and makit-an nila in front of their eyes na kuyaw gyud diay kaayo ning mga artists sa Mindanao. So Instead na kami ang muadto dito, sila’y atong paadtuon diri” (they will see how good these Mindanao artists are so instead of us going there, we will let them come here). Millan explained they chose the theme “Traversing the River of Creativity” because “if this is going to be the first ever Mindanao art fair, we might as well start from the very beginning … mas maganda kung balikan natin ang nakaraan bago tayo pumunta sa kung saan man tayo papunta (it’s better to go back to our past before we proceed to wherever we may want to go). We are trying to define however which way we express yung kaluluwa, yung spirit ng (the soul, the spirt of) Mindanao but we can only do that if we start from the beginning. That’s why we were encouraging galleries and artists to first back track, from the source of all source, back to the river of creativity.” Millan said it will be the first time where viewers get to see “so much Mindanao-inspired art works” that would hopefully make them “feel the collective spirit from the different inspirations coming from the different regions in Mindanao and different art groups.” “It’s so exciting to be able to see for the first time a unified Mindanao in terms of art,” he said. Mindanao art industry Estremera said Mindanao Art is the “first ever attempt to gather art groups, art galleries from all over Mindanao in an attempt to start up a movement to stimulate an art industry kasi Mindanao has a lot of artists, all kinds of artists in fact, and there’s a lot of inspiration but there is no industry to speak of that can sustain a livelihood for the artist.” At the press conference, Estremera said they look forward to an art industry in Mindanao “that is grounded on the roots of Mindanao. Di lang kumikita but kitang-kita na Mindanao siya.” MindanaoArt is supported by a grant from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA-NCAG) under the Regional Art Fair category. Lawig-Diwa submitted a proposal and won the competitive grant in December 2018 and has applied for the staging of the second MindanaoArt in 2020. The organizers proposed the project to “provide a venue for gallery owners and art patrons to scrutinize Mindanao's best; bring art collectors to view and buy Mindanao’s best; push local gallery owners and art spaces to sustain an industry manned by local talents thru interaction with established art galleries in the national capital; be an annual gathering for learning and interacting with art industry movers who are exposed to a vibrant, self-sustaining, and profitable art scene; and stimulate a culture of knowing one’s community among the local artists and find an identity that is uniquely Mindanao.” Museums and Galleries Month MindanaoArt is part of the NCCA’s celebration of the Museum and Galleries Month with the theme “Building the Nation, One Exhibit at a Time.” The celebration, according to John Delan Robillos, head of the NCCA-NCAG, underscores the role of museums and galleries as “custodians not only of our historical past but of our future.” “We want the public to realize that these institutions are centers of our consciousness which fuel our common identity and aspirations as a nation.” Robillos said “everyone is so excited about the Mindanao Art Fair” especially since the art scene in the past was “always centered in Manila.” Father Harold Rentoria, NCCA Commissioner for Cultural Heritage recalled that in his six years at the NCCA, “naka-centralize sa Manila ang activites.” He expressed hope that the regional art fairs like MindanaoArt “will encourage not only artists malapit lang sa sentro, hindi lang sana taga-Davao but artists from different provinces in Mindanao.” He cited the T’bolis in Sultan Kudarat and others from Maguindanao and the youth who could be the future national artists. Participating artists Art galleries and art groups that are participating in MindanaoArt are Gallery Down South, Tabula Rasa Art Gallery, Bintana Art Gallery, Piguras Davao, Art Portal Gallery for Contemporary Art and Datu Bago Gallery and Café, all in Davao City; Talaandig Soil Painters from Bukidnon; Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures from Cagayan de Oro; Likha-Caraga from Butuan City; and the Zamboanga-City based Ateneo de Zamboanga Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago. Davao City is in Southern Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon are in Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga is in Western Mindanao and Butuan is in Caraga region.. Mindanao has 27 provinces and 33 cities spread across six regions. While many participating artists draw their inspiration from or are influenced by the cultures of the Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) and the Moro, only one Lumad group – the Talaandig soil painters from Bukidnon – is represented in MindanaoArt. There is no Moro art group. Organizers said they extended invitations across Mindanao and the participating artists had immediately confirmed their attendance. Dinky Munda of Tabula Rasa reminded those who attended the press conference that aside from the main exhibit, there are satellite exhibits at the galleries of Tabula Rasa at Felcris Centrale, Art Portal along Legaspi St., Bintana at the NCCC Victoria Mall, Datu Bago Gallery at the Davao City National High School, and Morning Light Gallery along Quirino Avenue. There is also an ongoing exhibit at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, featuring the works of Bai Hinang, an all-women’s art group of 26 women timed for Pink October, a campaign for breast cancer awareness, and another exhibit at the Mindanao Folk Arts Museum at the PWC. The duration of the “satellite exhibits” is longer, some until October 31. “We have been preparing for this event for a long, long time. This is a long time coming. For me this is the most significant exhibit we have in Mindanao,” said the 74-year old Munda. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews) 

Massive polio vaccination set in Davao

September 23, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /23 September) -- A massive polio vaccination will be conducted here early next month after water samples from the Davao River tested positive for poliovirus, Department of Health (DOH)-Davao regional director Annabelle Yumang said on Monday. Yumang said the vaccines from the central office of the DOH are expected to arrive first week of October and will be administered immediately to the communities. To prepare for the vaccination program, she said they have already met with the vaccinators, including the local government units through the municipal and district health offices, to brief them on the guidelines. She said the agency has yet to determine if the scope of the vaccination program will cover the entire region or will be limited to the communities along the Davao River. “We have conducted meetings with the local government units. We have also met with the district health offices,” she said. She said no one has been afflicted with polio yet in the region and assured the public that the agency will do all it can to prevent an outbreak. In the meantime, the DOH Davao Center for Health Development (DCHD) is conducting a regular environmental surveillance as a supplementary activity and the polio surveillance on individuals showing signs of acute flaccid paralysis or the muscle weakness on the lower extremities of the bodies, which could be a manifestation of the illness. Yumang urged the public to avoid swimming in the Davao River. She also asked the public to stop defecating in the rivers and urged local government units “to ensure Zero Open Defecation or the proper use of hygienic toilets and correct disposal of human wastes are observed in their respective communities.”   She said the situation in the region is not yet alarming but emphasized the agency will not wait until someone contracts polio before taking action. Last week, the agency confirmed that “Polio re-emerged in the Philippines nineteen years after the country was declared Polio-free by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000.” In an earlier statement, the DOH Davao Center for Health Development (DCHD) said it conducts regular environmental surveillance as a supplementary activity for Polio Surveillance. It said monthly water sampling was done since June 5, 2018. The latest water sample taken from the waterways in Davao City yielded positive for poliovirus.   According to DOH, Polio is an “infectious disease which spreads rapidly and can cause paralysis, and on rare occasions, can be fatal. It can be spread when food or drink contaminated by feces with poliovirus is ingested.”   It said there is still no cure for Polio but it “can be prevented with three doses of Oral Polio Vaccine and one dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine. These vaccines have long been used in the Philippines, proven safe and effective and are given for free in all Health Centers.” “Promotion for immunization are also intensified in all communities. DOH will continue to strengthen its surveillance activities. We will ensure that all children under 5 years old will receive the complete doses of immunization for Polio Virus,” it said. "We reiterate to all parents and guardians to review the immunization status of their children and ensure that they are completely immunized. This is the only way to protect a child from the fatal polio virus,” it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)  

A SOJOURNER'S VIEW: September 21’s horrific memory

September 21, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Sept) -- There are a few dates in Philippine History that bring a horrific memory to those who suffered the consequences of these historical events. One is 16 March 1521, ironically labeled the day when the islands - later to be named Las Islas Filipinas - was "discovered." In actual fact, on this date began the Spanish occupation of the islands ending only because the Philippine National Revolution waged by the Katipunan vanquished the colonizers. Another is 8 December 1898 when the whole of this archipelago was sold by Spain to the new colonizer, the United States of America for the measly sum of US$20 million.  Still another is 7 December 1942 - the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii by Japanese Imperial forces that triggered the war in Asia impacting on the Philippines. There are also the dates that are still remembered up to today, the Fall of Bataan (9 April 1942) and the Fall of Corregidor (6 May 1942).   But in recent memory, no other event would haunt the generation that suffered the consequences of what unfolded on this date than the one that is now recorded in history books as taking place on 21 September 1972.  That was the day when hundreds across the Republic were arrested and put in prison and with some of them staying in prison for years.  Until it finally got  abolished with People Power in 1986, 3,257 Filipinos killed, 35,000 tortured, and some 70,000 arrested -- taking place across 14 years. Many of the dead have not been recovered and provided a decent burial.   For all these victims and their families, co-workers and friends, the trauma suffered through the long years of tyranny remain haunting them in their dreams even up to today.   Comes now the suggestion of the newly-elected Senator Imee Marcos that her family be allowed to share their views on what happened with the martial law inflicted by his father on the Filipino people.  Reacting to the news that the University of the Philippines would soon offer Philippine Studies (PS) 21,  a subject that will focus on the language, literature and culture under martial law, Senator Marcos said: "It's good that it's being studied. I hope we will be given the chance to say what we believe happened.. That is what's important, that each of us share our viewpoint and that each of us be heard." (See Leila Salaveria and Matthew Reysio-Cruz, “Imee on Martial Law as UP Subject: Part of Academic Freedom”, in PDI, 19 September 2019, p. A11).   By all means, give Senator Marcos her family’s day in the court of public opinion. But don’t just ask Imelda, Imee and Bongbong to appear in the public sphere to tell the people their versions of the “golden days” of FM’s martial rule. Bring in the cast of characters who were her father’s chief collaborators to tell us their own stories so we can ferret the truth from the horses’ mouth.  If the names mentioned below have moved to another level of existence like their authoritarian master, one of their descendants - especially those still benefiting from the wealth amassed by their ancestor who was FM's crony - could be called on to appear in the public sphere. Make sure that General Fabian Ver and Juan Ponce Enrile will be around to once and for all confess to the crimes they committed against the Filipino people as they ordered the thousands assassinated, disappeared, tortured and imprisoned. Let Ponce Enrile again recount how he was used to justify martial law’s declaration by the ambush he experienced which he himself later on claimed was staged to make it appear that the NPAs were behind the ambush.  Bring in the Cabinet members who included oligarchs like Cesar Virata, Roberto Ongpin, David Consunji, Vicente Paterno, Jaime Laya, Rodolfo del Rosario, et al who – by being FM’s cronies amassed great wealth during these years but bankrupted the coffers of the Republic through loans of millions of dollars that ballooned and whose principal and interest we continue to pay until today.  Bring in Francisco Tatad, Estelito Mendoza, Ernesto Maceda et al who told lies and manipulated the truth to fool the people into believing that our lives were greatly improved because of martial rule and that the new society was the best thing that ever happened to the Republic. Bring in Vilma Bautista, Imelda’s former personal secretary caught with selling stolen art works of Impressionist painters worth tens of millions of dollars. This might be a problem as she has to serve a two-to-six year prison term, but arrangements could be made for her extradition to the Philippines.  She will then be able to tell us how Imelda managed to buy these super-priced paintings, where she got the money to buy them and how she has kept these in their vaults until discovered. Perhaps someone else who handled her diamond jewelry could also be invited to share the story  Just don’t bother anymore with whoever helped Madam collect her thousand shoes kasi lumang tugtugin na nga ito.  But it might be a good idea to assemble her remaining Blue Ladies to also testify to the extravagant parties and concerts she organized for the likes of Van Cliburn, George Hamilton and Margot Fonteyn. But, of course, make sure you have a good collection of personalities and ordinary folk who were victims of martial rule to grace this truth-telling session. While it is no longer possible to bring in the likes of Ninoy Aquino, Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tanada, Chino Roces, Evelio Javier, Edgar Jopson, Sr. Marianni Dimaranan SFIC and all those whose names are written on the walls of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, there are still hundreds of surviving victims of martial rule.  Many are now in their advanced ages but are still fit to testify once again what they underwent in the cruel hands of the FM regime.  They are farmers, workers, housewives, urban poor, indigenous persons, medical personnel, lawyers, teachers and church people.  Bring them in and their testimonies can so easily wipe out the lies of those who would defend the Marcos martial rule as the best thing that has ever happened to this country. If any of the universities in Manila – especially UP Diliman --  maybe an intimidating venue as public sphere for these truth-telling sessions, there is always the Araneta Center or the Solair Performing Arts Center.  A huge crowd would certainly come to watch this spectacle. The Manila Film Center would have been the perfect venue if it has remained as grand as when it opened, before it became a haunted place in the wake of the hundreds who perished in that tragic incident.  A haunting that might just occur as the deliberations reach a feverish level may just finally make Madame confess her sins. And  to  finally apologize to the madlang people who she and her husband – with whom she shared a conjugal dictatorship – victimized owing to their untarnished greed for wealth and power. [Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is the most prolific Mindanawon book author, having written at least 22 books since 1985, including “Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations,” two books on Davao history, and “Ordinary Lives, Lived Extraordinarily – Mindanawon Profiles” launched in February 2019. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw)]

Davao City set to ban pork products from Luzon

September 19, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 September) -- All pork and its by-products from Luzon and other African Swine Fever (ASF)-affected areas will be banned soon in Davao City. Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, head of the City Veterinarian’s Office, said during the ISpeak Media Forum at the City Hall of Davao on Thursday, that the draft executive order, completed last September 13, is now waiting for the signature of Mayor Sara Duterte. Once signed, the executive order will impose a temporary ban on “all pork products and by-products such as tocino, longganisa, and ham coming from Luzon and other ASF-infected areas” to prevent the virus from spreading to the local swine industry, according to Pinili. She said the measure will also prohibit the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat.. According to the Department Agriculture, the ASF outbreaks have been controlled in Barangay Pritil, Guiguinto, Bulacan; and in several barangays in Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Antipolo in Rizal. Aside from Davao City, Dr. Armie Capuyan, DA-regional ASF focal, said a temporary ban on all pork and by-products has been imposed earlier through an executive order in Davao Oriental, the first provincial government in Davao Region to undertake the measure. She said local government units would have the final say whether to implemnt a similar measure. She added the region remains ASF-free. Davao Region comprises the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de. Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and Compostela Valley and the cities of Davao, Tagum, Samal, Panabo, Digos and Mati. Pinili said the city government has already convened the ASF Task Force, comprising City Planning and Development Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Agriculturist Office, City Health Office, City Information Office, and the commercial and backyard hog raisers as private sector representatives, tasked to implement Davao City African Swine Fever Protection Program. The task force was created by an executive order signed by then acting mayor Sebastian Duterte last September 5. She said the local government will also implement a 24/7 animal quarantine monitoring system in three major checkpoints of the city -- Sirawan in Toril, Lacson in Calinan, and Lasang.  Footbaths will be provided there for all passengers entering the city. For live hogs coming from different parts of the region, she said the local government requires businesses and individuals to present Veterinarian’s Health Certificate and Animal Inspection certificates issued by the Veterinary Quarantine Service before they can be allowed to enter. Similar requirements are needed for abattoirs in the city, she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)  


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