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10 Lessons from Loay, Bohol on How Local Government Leaders Should Fight Decisively Against the COVID – 19 Pandemic

“Some people ask me why I was very quick to deliver social assistance to people during this crisis. It’s simple. I have experienced myself having nothing. I can easily empathize with what people are experiencing on the ground.”
     - Atty.  Hilario “Lahar’ Ayuban              Mayor, Loay, Bohol

The COVID-19 crisis that plagues the world is impacting adversely every sector and every individual globally. In the Philippines, the rate of infection has been steadily increasing, partly brought about by the availability of test kits, and the lack of compliance with strict preventive measures. The ability of the country to combat and survive this pandemic is put to the test.  Despite the missteps on the part of the national government, local government officials all over the country have been facing the crisis head-on, with some local chief executives finding creative ways to stem the spread of the virus through preventive measures while at the same time temper the economic impacts on the li…
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4 Reasons Why Following Bishop Abet on FB is a Good Thing To Do in this Time of Crisis

I met Bishop Abet Uy for the first time online.
Some three years ago, at the suggestion of a good friend of mine, Fr. Harold Anthony Parilla, I sent Bishop Abet a direct message via FB messenger. He replied, within a day or two and told me how I could proceed with something I wanted to do.I did as was instructed, and some few weeks later, he sent me, via messenger again, a thank-you note.
Such tech-savviness impressed me, especially for a prelate his age. I was not surprised that some weeks later, I learned that the Bishop was using social media to spread God’s message, in very accessible terms. I also personally witnessed events he presided where online footprint was created almost in real-time (or at least a few hours after the event concluded), making us aware of where he was, what he was doing in building God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Currently, his various Facebook accounts have thousands of followers (Teba Yu has 11,744 followers, Abet Uy has 63,337, while the Bishop Abet page h…

5 Things To Love about Joseph Gara's Songs

- Full disclaimer here – I am a huge Joseph Gara fan.
I saw him for the first time in a wedding party of a dear friend, unmindfully singing as guests were entering the ballroom of a hotel. Apart from his guitar, he was his own prop, tucked neatly at one side of the stage, almost unseen as a massive bouquet of giant white lilies and carnations stood beside his guitar stand.Right there and then I thought that this guy would go places, because it was quite clear that he liked his music, and while he sang covers of popular acoustic ballads, he seemed to claim them as his own, making the music sound fresh, and the words as if they were freshly minted.
I am an avid spectator of his shows – at South Palms Resort,one of our favourite staycation spots in Bohol, where he seemed to be a regular; at the many weddings that he was contracted to serenade; at the many cultural events in the province where he was a part of or was the sole reason for its convening.I also follow his Spotify releases, his Y…

Two Cases of Government Responsiveness

With the bad things that happened with government service delivery these days – from tanim-bala to market fires due to bad cables – it is easy to be swayed to the opinion that this government can never do right, and that everything in the Philippine government, whether local or national, are all wrong.  If facebook posts and tweets are measures of the opinion of the “connected” Filipino nation (which, by the way, comprises only around 40% of the total population), it  seems that the general sentiment is that this country is so badly-governed that entertainment is a happy escape from the current mess we are in. 
But often we forget that there are also many good things going on in this country’s government.  I do not want to be an apologist of the government but I want to speak of two experiences where I can say that as a citizen, I have benefitted from government’s willingness to protect the interest of its citizens and from government’s responsiveness to an ordinary citizen’s question…

Some Questions on Justice

The “twisted ruling” of the Supreme Court, granting bail to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile for a non-bailable case, and purportedly finding a constitutional basis to do so, showed once again how justice bends to the will of the powerful and the mighty.  One part of the story is the ability of the rich to engage better lawyers and build a stronger case (Lopez, 2009). Another part of the story is the potential for justices to exhibit partiality in exchange for a sum of money, or in order to side with the powers that be.
This brings me to an important question that I think every Boholano needs to answer – What do we mean by just?  When do we say that something is just?  How can we say that justice has been served?  I will not attempt to answer these questions here, but add some more, using recent events in Bohol as a basis for framing the questions.
Question 1:  Is the killing of supposedly “drug pushers” justified?  Several people were killed last year in the province and their murders remain …

A Concrete Road to Nowhere

First day of the year 2015, Arlen and I took a walk from our house in San Isidro, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, to the city public market in Dao to exercise and at the same time buy the week’s provision of fish, vegetables and rootcrops.  For quite a time, the road that connects Dao proper and Dao Lanao intersecting the national highway going to Corella has been closed to traffic. We have used this road before when it was still surfaced with asphalt.  We knew that the other half of the road which leads to the city public market in Dao was almost completed that we wondered what took the project so long to be finished and opened for public use.
So that we would have answers to our questions, we walked through the road. Apparently that portion near the national highway has not been touched yet, for one primary reason – there is a claimant of the property that has long been used as a public road.  After a well concreted road section, probably completed for months already, a makeshift fence stoo…

Analysing Disaster Preparedness in Maribojoc

Maribojoc is a fourth class municipality in the province of Bohol. Located 30 kilometers southwest of Tagbilaran City, the provincial capital, the municipality is composed of 22 barangays whose residents are primarily engaged in farming and fishing.  The municipality is home to one of the oldest watchtowers in the country and one of the oldest Spanish churches in the province.
Maribojoc has a total of 20,491 people with a population density of 2.6 persons per hectare as of 2010.  Urban population consists of 26.61% of the total town population.  The population is predominantly young, with 30% of the total population aged 0-14 years old.  The productive force of the municipality is 60%.
Land formation of the municipality ranges from sea-level to very steep slopes. The highest elevation of the municipality is 304 meters above sea level.  The municipality only has around 18.99% that do not experience erosion.  Moderate to severe erosions occur in the areas with very rolling to very steep s…