Friday, September 28, 2007

Pecojon Training

The Pecojon announced recently a call for application to its sponsored Conflict Journalism Seminar slated 12-15 october 2007 in Davao City.

I faxed to Pecojon office my application days before the 28 September 2007 deadline. I hope I will be accepted in this training. Pecojon will announce the result on 3 October 2007.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A summit for peace

Here’s a piece I sent to City Forum, a monthly newsmagazine published by Airpinoy Media Communications, Advertising and Entertainment Ventures, Inc.:

A summit for peace

Staff Writer

CAGAYAN DE ORO—NATIONAL security officials and local government executives from various parts of Mindanao converged in this City recently for the two-day Mindanao Peace and Security Summit, July 9-10, 2007, held at the posh Pryce Plaza Hotel. The hastily-called conclave was held five days before the nationwide implementation of the anti-terror law.

Critics despised the holding of the summit, saying it was only for Mindanao as there was no announcement of similar summit for Luzon and Visayas. They also hit the government for disguising it as a public consultation of the ant-terror law as there was no wide participation of the general public in that two-day summit.

Instead, military division commanders and regional police chiefs around Mindanao were present during the summit. A check made by MindaNews, an online publication, revealed that the Summit had a token participation from the non-government sector. From a guest list of 239 participants, MindaNews reported that only 11 were invited—two from the religious sector, a Catholic archbishop and a Protestant pastor; two from the business sector; two from the academe and five from non-governmental organizations.

Curiously, the Commission on Human Rights, a vital agency that would ensure the protection of human rights in the implementation of the Human Security Act, was not in the list of invited agencies. In contrast, the National Security Council listed a 41-person secretariat, the MindaNews reported.

During the summit, the participants were divided into five groups for the workshops: Upholding Human Rights and the Rule of Law; Culture of Peace; Denying Support to Terrorists; Strengthen Counter-Terrorism Drive; and Enhancing Crisis Management Structures and Institutions.

At the culmination of the Summit which centered on the theme “Peace and Security: Our Legacy to the Filipino People”, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rallied Mindanaoans to become active partners of government in fighting criminality, terrorism and poverty to ensure the continuous development of the war-torn island of Mindanao.

"From this summit, let us strive to create a mass movement of Mindanaoans actively engaged in fighting crimes, terrorism, and poverty," the President said.

Before the President delivered her address, a five-point resolution aimed at combating criminality and terrorism was presented to her, containing the participants' consensus to uphold human rights and the rule of law, promote the culture of peace, deny support to terrorists, strengthen counter-terrorism drive, and enhance crisis management mechanisms and institutions. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the City’s 2nd District presented the five-point resolution to the President. “The reason why I was asked to present the results of the summit workshop is because the President is a Mindanaoan. We are from Mindanao. We are her children. I am her prodigal son. And the prodigal son is very eager to go home,” Congressman Rodriguez said, eliciting a pleasing smile from the President.

“It is our profound conviction that the national peace policy should be made permanent regardless of the leadership in the Administration and Congress and that the priority of development programs in conflict-affected areas will create a positive investment climate and create equal opportunities for Mindanaoans,” Rodriguez who read the MDPS, said.

In response to the five-point resolution, the President ordered the increased security of vital power and transport facilities in Mindanao.

"Let us begin the implementation of the Human Security Act by using it as a tool to prevent all these multibillion-peso hydroelectric dams and power grids from being whacked by terrorists," the President pointed out.

The President said she also ordered the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to find ways to grant the wish of summit participants to increase to 30-percent the share of Mindanao from the national budget.

For a start, the President said she would ask Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to pour in 30 percent of DA’s budget for farm-to-market roads in Mindanao. The President has also directed the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) to provide its property in Davao City as the new home of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

On the five-point resolution, the President said she would task Presidential Assistant for Mindanao Jesus Dureza to ensure that the objectives of the resolution are carried out.

President Arroyo said he administration will invest in peace and order, conduct economic and political reforms, and strengthen the institutions of government to ensure that civil rights and social justice are also available to all Filipinos.

"We must weed out corruption, stop political violence and build a strong system of justice that people can trust," the President stressed.

She added: "We must all band together as a people and as public servants to stop this violence once and for all."

"If you are armed and kill innocent civilians, you will be tracked down and prosecuted. If you are a communist terrorist, we will stop you. If you are a religious terrorist, we will stop you. If you are a rogue element of our own police or military, we will stop you," the President warned.

The President said her administration would not stop working until lasting peace in Mindanao is achieved, adding that the country’s model for reconciliation is built on the construction of roads, bridges and schools, investments to shore up the local economy, and interfaith dialogue. *

Thursday, June 07, 2007


MY poem ‘Markings in the Dust’ appeared in the May 2007 issue of Red River Review. This is a fully electronic literary journal edited by Bob McCranie, one of the founding members of the Dallas Poets Community. Bob is the former editor of both The Dallas Review and the UT-Dallas student journal, Sojourn. In January of 1994, Bob received his Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College. He has recently published poetry in New Texas 2002 and has work forthcoming in Bay Windowsand the anthology "New Dudes - Gents, Badboys, and Barbarians II" (Windstorm Creative Press). He has previously published work in A&U -America's AIDS Magazine, RFD, Bay Windows, MindPurge, Nightfire, Contexas, the University of Southwestern Louisiana Chapbook, PIF Magazine, CleanSheets and The James White Review. Bob won the 1992 John Z. Bennett Award for Poetry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and was a finalist in the 2002 Inkwell Press poetry prize.

The journal’s masthead says: The purpose of this journal is to publish quality poetry using the latest technology. Red River Review is a journal for poets serious enough to have studied the craft of writing and for readers who enjoy being stirred and moved by language.

Here’s my poem:

Markings In The Dust

Nothing provides him shade. So
the scorching heat of April sun
tans his skins he looks like
a dressed life-size bronze statue.
Sweat marinates his body
and soaks his red t-shirt.

He smells of the sun.
At the roadside,
getting dustier each day
due to the absence of rain,
he peddles Sweepstakes tickets.
Leaning against the concrete fence

of the school run by nuns,
he repeatedly announces
that the draw will be on Sunday,
as if reciting a litany of praise.
But it seems his voice
is just a whisper no passersby

dares looking at him.
The booklet is still intact.
At late afternoon,
his foot trembles, his leg hardens
due to the pressure of his weight.
It’s good enough the two shafts

suspended under his armpits
are made of hardwood.
By sunset, he goes home
leaving in the dust
a single trace of slipper mark
and a hole on each side.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Poetry reading

NINDOT ang reaksyon sa katawhan--kadaghanan nga tinun-an ug magtutudlo sa Xavier University--sa gihimong Balaki ko Day/Dong, usa ka poetry reading didto sa XU Little Theater niadtong Pebrero 13, 2007, bisperas gayod sa Adlaw sa Kasingkasing. Nakaingon kong nindot tungod kay moukyab man sila kon balak nang binisaya ang pagabasahon.

Usa ako sa mingbasa og balak. Ang akong gibasa mao ang akong kaugalingong obra nga "Sa karaang casa". Kini nga balak kabahin sa pungpong sa mga balak nga nahukmang mananaog sa Ikatulong Ganti sa 2006 Bathalad-Cebu Literary Awards.

Akong mainitong pasalamat kang Arlene J. Yandug sa iyang pagdapit kanako aron mahimong kabahin sa maong halandomong kalihokan.

Hinaot lain pang susamang kalihokan ang pasiugdahan ni Arlene ug mga kauban.

Tuod, si Arlene usa usab ka creative writer ug napatikan nag balak sa mga nasodnong magasin. Nagtudlo siyag creative writing ug literature subjects sa Xavier University.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dads back bail for Erap

Here's a story I filed for The Manila Newsweek:

Dads back bail for Erap


CAGAYAN DE ORO.--THE City Council here had joined other civil society groups in calling on the government to release detained former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada or allow him to post bail while awaiting the verdict of the Sandiganbayan on plunder charges that remained unproven after almost six years of trial.

During its regular session on Dec. 27, 2006 presided by Acting Vice Mayor Juan Sia, the City Council unanimously adopted Resolution No. 8333-2006, expressing its support for the release of Estrada or for him to be allowed to post bail pending verdict on the plunder charges filed against the former President.

Estrada “has shown unswerving adherence to the rule of law and he has show no indication whatsoever of fleeing the country to escape justice”, the resolution read in part.

Sia said the release of Estrada from prison may unify the nation and end the raging climate of hate engulfing the country.

“The national leadership has been time and again espousing national reconciliation among various political units and former President Estrada’s freedom may be the medicine to heal the wounds of the nation,” read one of the whereases of the resolution.

Sia said copies of the resolution will be furnished to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez and Sandiganbayan executive clerk of court Emma Rosario Lorbes for their appropriate and favorable action.

Earlier, Manila Mayor Lito Atienza said he was spearheading the signing of the Covenant of Unity among top government officials, business and religious leaders who have consistently pressed the government to release Estrada from prison for the sake of national reconciliation.

He said Estrada’s release “appears to be the missing link in the journey toward national reconciliation.”

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it is strongly supporting the Covenant of Unity, saying that the release of Estrada from detention pending court resolution “is a giant step in the path toward political peace and national reconciliation especially at the onset of the New Year.”

Lawyer Miguel Varela, PCCI chairman, pointed out the Covenant of Unity “is seen to lift a huge barrier to national unity and reconciliation.”

He said releasing Estrada “would be a top-drawer in the Philippine political cauldron that is being swept by hate and political squabbling that pulls all plugs stopping the inflow of both foreign and local investments.”

Friday, November 24, 2006

New fair market values, building permit fees

I ATTENDED the public hearing regarding the proposed fair market values and new building permit fees and other charges Thursday morning held at the Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Hall. Below is the story I filed for our daily newsflyer, The Power:

It’s fair enough, Kagay-anons
say of new fair market values
By Raul G. Moldez

THE City Council assured Kagay-anons it will take note and consider their reactions, suggestions and comments on the proposed new schedule of fair market values and building permit fees and other charges.

At the public hearing Thursday morning at the City Tourism Hall, Vice Mayor Michelle Tagarda-Spiers said the adoption of both schedules is long overdue, even as she thanked civic groups, nongovernment organizations, landowners, developers, barangay officials, regional offices and other sectors for attending the public consultation.

“It is not only mandated by law. It is long overdue,” she said, stressing that under the 1991 Local Government Code, local government units are mandated to revise fair market values every three years. “Since 1997, there were no changes. We should have done three revisions already.”

“If you compare Cagayan de Oro City between 1997 and 2006, there is a world of difference. Cagayan de Oro has boomed, bloomed and blossomed so much,” the vice mayor pointed out.

Vice Mayor Spiers said the adoption of the new fair market values is necessary to enable the city to “keep pace with the changes” of time.

“We will consider your proposals before we will finally approve the schedule,” she added.

City Assessor Atinodoro Asequia pointed out that under Sections 219 and 212 of RA 7160, also known as the 1991 Local Government Code, each LGU is authorized to revise fair market value schedule every three years.

In the proposed schedule, the City Assessor claimed that the increase is very minimal.

Based on the figures presented by the City Assessor, the increase is pegged at the average of 20-percent from the existing rates, except in posh housing subdivisions.

“The increase is arrived at after making consultations with the realtors and other sectors. It is fair, just and reasonable,” Asequia said, adding that the valuation is based on the actual use.

Assessment officials said the city’s assessment level is lower than Cebu’s and Iligan’s.

Barangay kagawad Camilo Sario of Bugo said the new valuation is fair enough. “It means 2 percent a year,” he said, referring to the number of years the city had not effected changes in the fair market value.

After the presentation of the fair market values by the City Assessor, officials of the City Building Office presented the new schedule of building permit fees and other charges based on the new provisions of the IRR of the National Building Code.

The public hearing was presided by Councilor Juan Sia, chair of the City Council committee on finance, and attended by Vice Mayor Spiers, Councilors Maryanne Enteria, Reynaldo Advincula, Ian Mark Nacaya, Alexander Dacer, Caesar Ian Acenas and Alfonso Goking.*

Saturday, November 18, 2006


(For Raul Joshua)

I toss you into the air. And,
for a second, you dwell at the
highest level of my throwing.

The air though
mild as Standard’s No. 1
is strong enough for you.

It lifts up the edge of your
white Hanes T-shirt given by
Ninong Noli on your birthday.

The entire family
sees your protruding navel,
hears the swell of your giggle.

On your way down
into my arms,
your Mama photographs us.

The photo captures all
the elements of thrill—
your chuckle bares a tooth.

Your breath moves the air.
And I remember Papa.
He once told me

I was a hyper-active child, always
seeking to be up in the air.
Now, I realize this:

The thrill is not in the air.
It’s in the arms down below
functioning like safety nets.

(Published in Ani 31 Literary Journal)