Why Sto. Niño is the Patron (Saint?) of Tacloban and Leyte?

Cebuanos once considered Santo Niño as their patron saint but the Church (Roman Catholic) discouraged such veneration because the Sto. Niño is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and cannot be called upon for intercession. So in 2002, Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared by Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal as the principal patroness of Cebu.

Here in Tacloban and Leyte, people are speaking and writing Sto. Niño as the patron saint. Are these people misguided by the Catholic Church?

There are reasons why the people here venerate Sto. Niño. In a story published in PIA website, Rodrigo S. Victoria, quoted Father Gilbert Urbina’s explanation why “Sto Niño is Leyte’s patron saint”.

See? A Catholic priest himself call Sto. Niño as saint. Part of the story goes:

Sr. Sto Niño became the patron saint of Tacloban City after people living in Tacloban village were healed and saved from cholera epidemic that plagued the community on June 30, 1889.

The law (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7676), that declares June 30 every year as special non-working public holiday in Tacloban and Leyte states:

The thirtieth day of June of every year, being the feast day of Señor Santo Niño, the patron saint of Tacloban City and the Heavenly Patron of Leyte, is hereby declared a special nonworking public holiday in Tacloban City, Province of Leyte, to be known as “Tacloban Day.”

I sent an email to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palo to ask some guidance. But until I have not receive reply from them, I continually be confused.

But of course, I am not against the Feast of Sto. Niño per se. what I don’t understand is that why people refer the Holy Child as saint when in the the Apostles’ Creed (Symbolum Apostolicum) which are recited every holy mass, Catholics would say:

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

My faith as Roman Catholic is strong, I should say. Happy fiesta, Tacloban!

Celebrate Tacloban 2012!

Tacloban is in festive mood. A week before Tacloban Day on June 30, the city’s event spots are jampacked with activities and people.

I am not quite sure how should I call the celebration as I’ve heared Sangyaw, Kasadyaan, Parayawan, Pintados. I think it is safe to say “pista sa Tacloban”. Locals here call fiesta as “patron”. So while Cebuano says “mamista” they will say “mamatron”.

If one ask if I am talking about a religious or government activity – I would say, I don’t know. Political faces and lining up with images of Sto. Nino.

While we must enjoy and celebrate with these cultural and political activities, let us not forget that it all start with religion. The Holy Child should be at the centerpiece. Among the religious activity are the Balyu-an Rites and the Fluvial Procession. For Cebuano like me, this sounded like Sinulog. But unlike Sinulog, there is too much politics here.

My sangkay (friends) here told me that Pintados is a Leyte Province festival, while Sangyaw is Tacloban City’s pet activity.

Last year (2011), when I still have not even considered Tacloban as my next ‘to-visit’ place, national media carried news about Pintados street parade that was blocked (read as not allowed) in City streets. This year, Pintados men decided not contain their activities in Leyte High School Grandstand.

One must understand the status of politics between Leyte Province and Tacloban City to understand the situation. And also, one must know that Tacloban City is now independent from Leyte Province. If not with sour relationship among provincial and city officials, the June celebation must be very meaningful. While the it’s undeniably festive, the month-long celebration become meaningless. It looks like politician’s grandstanding.

Politicians here take all the opportunities to show-off. In Balyu-an for example, gigantic tarpulin show the faces of the City mayor and his wife. In RTR Plaza (also named as Pintados – Kasadyaan Plaza), the faces of province officials are at the stage making it appear like there is meeting de avance rather than a festival. For those who have not known, province men hold their activities there as they own RTR Plaza.

Even the holy Sto. Nino church is not spared. Faces of politicians are hung at its wall like telco’s unlimited call and text ads. Are they selling their faces?

I think yes because even during Holy Week, at the Calvary Hill, the faces of a party list representative who reportedly aspire to become Tacloban City mayor are at big tarps and tent.

I see nothing wrong with elected officials greeting “happy fiesta” but when it is clear even to 14-year old that their intention is to get more votes to the upcoming election, the tarpulin with their faces and greetings become a shit.

Let’s not spoil our day with politics though. As this is my first time to witness how the people here celebrate, I would rather enjoy and anticipate joy!

I went to Astrodome (they call it Astro) to see the rides at the Carnival in Astro grounds. I may try some of the rides before it closes on July 7.

For several occasions, my sangkay and I spend some time in Balyu-an where there is Parayawan (practically means celebration). There is live band every night and of course beer because the whole area is San Miguel Beer’s Teritoryo. I have to mention the grilled foods too! I must also mention that it’s city’s pet because of the faces of Tacloban City’s politicians that are displayed there. Besides the hosts of the activities there never fail and keep on mentioning names of such politicians. I am drowned with politics here, I told one of my friends in Mindanao.

In RTR, the activities are quite boring and the hosts sucks. Yikes! They are even aired on TV. RTR activities are province-pet so I wonder why Leyte Province don’t get better hosts for their activities. But setting them aside, we surely enjoy with beer and food there, too!

Unless I have thousands of pesos ready to be disposed and I don’t work the whole week, I cannot join or witness 80% of the events and activities.

Perhaps, the most worthy to mention is the Parade of Lights on June 29.

If we could remember how our senators explain the impeachmet trial of CJ Corona, I would also say the the celebration here in Tacloban is quasi-religious, quasi-political.

Let’s celebrate Tacloban!

How TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva fuel his Ambition to Become Senator

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) must be a good milking cow for funds that shall be used to advanced the personal interest of individuals aspiring to hold higher office.

Look what TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva is doing. I already get too much of his faces anywhere. I should have not care if his faces are posted anywhere and if all TV ads carry his face if he use his personal money but for God sake, he is using taxpayer’s money.

Clearly, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva is not promoting TESDA; he is promoting himself! What he is doing is an early political campaign already done before by his predecessor Augusto Syjuco.

If not with the early campaign by no less than President Noynoy for Joel Villanueva, I would give the young man the benifit of the doubt. But for God’s sake, the president already made it public that Joel Villanueva will be in Liberal’s senatorial bet in the 2013 elections. Both President Aquino and Director General Villanueva lack a sense of respect to the Filipino nation. Both lack a sense of delicadeza.

Villanueva should stop using the funds intended for the Filipino youth to fuel his ambition to become senator.

How much taxpayer’s money Villanueva has spent – we don’t know. It must be millions considering the cost of running TV ads today.

In his Manila Standard Today’s column, Alvin Capino told his readers:

Villanueva must be spending tens of millions of Tesda funds to promote himself. An anti-graft crusader will clearly see that this is wrong. Apparently for Villanueva, there is nothing wrong in taking advantage of Tesda resources.

In the same column, Capino has vivid description of where to find Villanueva.

He has a running television commercial. He has an electronic billboard in Edsa. He has a huge billboard at NLEX. The vans of Tesda have been plastered with his face. There are many other collateral materials with his face and his name, ostensibly promoting Tesda programs but in reality promoting his candidacy.

I found Villanueva even in online courses offered by TESDA. I hate faces especially when I know the vested interest of the face.

People come to TESDA to learn and have some skills and not to see the face of young and ambitious Joel Villanueva.

This is how Joel Villanueva replicate what his predecessor has done before. This is how Joel Villanueva spend millions of taxpayer’s money to promote his self interest. As former anti-graft crusader, I believe Villanueva is aware that he is abusing his power.

Let us remember that the former TESDA Director Augusto Syjuco has been accused of violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct of and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees and other violations.

Now, I am accusing TESDA Director Joel Villanueva the same.

How our Senators sold their legacy to the will of President Noynoy Aquino

I have understood that most of the members of the House of Representatives would blindly follow the will and desire of the President. The lower house has the reputation to do what the President wants – no matter what.

It boils down to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). History would remind us that those who did not lined up with the president wouldn’t get fatty budget and golden projects from the palace.

So I was not surprised when 188 congressmen signed the Corona impeachment case. Many of them did not even bother to read the complaint.

We cannot expect too much from our congressmen. They have maintained good record of being puppets of Malacanang.

The Senate used to have good standing as a whole although it is already stained with some members who was just asked to buy suka and suddenly become Senators. I am referring to those who have no idea about laws and so ignorant about legislation. But they got the title as honorable Senator. How sad.

I listened to the 20 Senators who voted for Corona’s conviction. All of them tried their best to explain hoping that they would appear like hero of the nation. The speech I hated most was the poetic explanation of Sen. Alan Peter Schramm Cayetano.

There was also the speech of Sen. Manuel Villar that sounded like political campaign speech. And the most funny – which reflect the Senate as a whole was that of Sen. Lito Lapid.

Sen. Lapid who claimed he did not know anything about laws still voted for conviction. I would love him if he abstained because he did not understand the process.

In a nutshell, the Senators did not only voted blindly and sold their legacy to the President, but they also show their true colors – they are like Sen. Lito Lapid.

Now that the Senators are siding the President, what can we expect from them?

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima: No competence, integrity, high sense of independence to become Chief Justice

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima shows her true color. She is now making public her long concealed ambition. After doing her best to serve the interest of President Noynoy Aquino and least on the interest of the people, Leila de Lima now expect to become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I hope she reconsider and would put her strong lust for the position into shelves.

First, how could she become a Chief Justice when she herself did not respect the Supreme Court?

Second, did she bother to ask why the Commission on Appointments could not confirm her position as Justice Secretary? It boils down to competence and integrity and De Lima lacked that qualities.

Third, who told her that she had the qualities needed for a Chief Justice? Only Aquino, maybe.

The Chief Justice should have competence, integrity, high sense of independence to become Chief Justice, De Lima told. She felt that she has all the three.

I concur with the wisdom Manila Standard Today, “On these three measures alone, we are sorry to say, De Lima has proved grossly unqualified.”

On competence, Manila Standard Today, reminds us how former Commissioner Leila de Lima of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) handled the Maguindanao Massacre. Now that she become the Secretary of Justice, she did too little to Maguindanao Massacre but did much to prosecute the enemy of her boss, President Noynoy.

Working for the desire of the President and not to serve the nation is what make Justice Secretary Leila de Lima unqualified to the position of Chief Justice. Clearly, she has no integrity and sense of independence.

I hope the lady will reconsider her dreams of becoming the next Chief Justice. As Manila Standard puts it, “shameless self-promotion, naked ambition and a lust for position.”

I am afraid that if ever Leila de Lima become the Chief Justice, she would do nothing except to protect the interest of President Noynoy Aquino and his family.

I’m afraid when Chief Justice has no minds of his/her own and just rely on the words of his/her benefactor.

Gwendolyn F. Garcia: From Cebu Provincial Capitol to the Philippine Senate

As Cebuano, I have full trust and confidence to the competence of Cebu’s beloved Governor Gwendolyn Fiel Garcia. Cebuanos have their full trust and confidence to Gwen Garcia when she became the first woman governor of Cebu in 2004.

From the Cebu Provincial Capitol, I am praying to see her in the Senate as Senator Gwendolyn F. Garcia. In 2013, soon, the first woman governor of Cebu would become the first woman Senator from Cebu!

As Filipino voter, I have full trust and confidence to the competence of Gwen Garcia. I am pretty sure my vote that would bring her as Senator to the 15th Congress of the Philippines would not go to waste bin as I believe Gwen Garcia would become true and dedicated representative of the nation.

On her second term as governor of Cebu, I already started to dream that the she can extend her service to whole Filipino nation. My prayers have been answered.

Recently, Governor Gwen Garcia told the public her decision to run for Senator in the 2013 midterm elections. Her announcement was warmly welcomed by different sectors. It was not surprising then that several political leaders and some groups expressed their support to Gov. Gwen.

As ordinary Filipino citizen, I would like to express my full support to Governor Garcia’s bid for a seat in the Senate.

We need someone like Governor Gwen Garcia in the Senate. We need someone in the Senate who has hands-on experience in local governance. Such experiences are vital to a Senator’s view and legislative actions on matters that affect countryside development.

We need a Senator like Gov. Gwen, who has political will and vision for growth and development. If it was not with her efforts, Cebu would not be one today. There could have been many Cebu and the word unity could have been forgotten.

We need a true woman representative; someone who raise the dignity of women.

I would call everyone within my circle to unite and help bring Gov. Gwendolyn F. Garcia to the Senate.