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Resiliency vs typhoons

RESILIENCY is better said than done in the face of global warming that spawns more powerful and destructive typhoons never experienced in our lifetime. Known for their resilient character brought about by their exposure to at least 10 typhoons a year, the increasing intensity of typhoon’s wrath challenges the core of the resilient character Bicolanos. Right after Typhoon Nina ravaged the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes we quickly rose to our feet to bring back our normal lives.

Across the provinces where Typhoon Nina hit hard, families were busy clearing, cleaning and rebuilding their homes right after the calamity. It’s that way here since one can remember. Bicolanos are not wont to succumb to self-pity when typhoon strikes. They have to stand up again and rebuild their lives, but for how long?

The times are changing as the weather morphs from bad to worse.

After more than a week since Typhoon Nina ravaged the three provinces, delays in restoration efforts have been observed, especially the toppled power lines which before took only a week or less to be re-energize. When Vice President Leni Robredo visited Camarines Sur eight days after the typhoon hit Bicol, she assessed the apparent delay in power restoration as she compared the situation after Typhoon Glenda. Obviously, she based her observation on the pitiful scenes along the way going to the town of Ocampo where dozens of power lines still lay on the highway. The vice president from Bicol, of course, earned the ire of her political adversaries who turned the table on her for being in the United States when Typhoon Nina came packing winds of up to 185 km per hour.

Robredo’s assessment was an honest one. It is not that the responders slept on their jobs and people’s resilient character had receded. The overwhelming magnitude of the typhoon’s wrath was the context of the vice president’s call for urgent response. For one, of the more than 80,000 hectares of farmlands destroyed in Bicol, no less than 60,000 hectares are found in Camarines Sur. It is not surprising that even with the preparations set before the typhoon made the first landfall in Catanduanes, such onslaught cannot be simply mitigated. This should make us realize that the usual preparations against the typhoon’s wrath will not suffice. The mitigation strategy must be upgraded to include development of new technologies that must be resilient, if not resistant, to the increasing strength of the typhoons.

The recurring scenes of power lines being knocked to the ground by typhoons requires evaluation of the way power supply should be brought to its consumers. In a country where typhoon is a normal occurrence, would it not be wise to deliver power through underground conveyor? Such formula and procedure may be costly, but in the long run it will prove to be cheaper.

In Camarines Sur alone, more than 200 school buildings were destroyed by the last typhoon, many of which are newly built and supposed to withstand strong typhoons. There must be problem in the design. We need to adopt a new design that can withstand a Category 5 typhoon with gustiness of wind reaching more than 280 km/hr. A good example are schools built in Albay under the assistance of the Spanish Agency for International Development after deadly Typhoon Reming devastated that province in 2006.

A big challenge is to make accessible and affordable house designs that can withstand typhoons. But how can the government assist 21.6 percent of more than 100 million Filipinos (circa 2015) who are poor? According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, a family of five must spend at least P9,064 per month to meet their food and non-food needs. With 21.6 percent of the Filipinos unable to meet these basic necessities, how can they afford to build a stronger shelter that can protect them from harm?

The biggest challenge to sustain the resilient character that Bicolanos are known for is learning how to withstand and adapt to the worsening weather condition that destroys our properties and our limbs. As the carbon emission continues to rise and warm up the oceans and man’s greed consumes our planet, it will not be long that the resilient character that we have cultivated will break down to become an untenable concept against the force of Mother Nature.


Underused Andres, Overused Pante

Henry V. Briguera

That Casureco 2 Project Supervisor and Acting General Manager Orlando Andres is not from Bikol may have partly contributed to what certain quarters have pictured as the lousiest power restoration efforts after a typhoon may be partly correct. But that is being too parochial. Andres is not the cause. He is just one of the effects of the faulty operational and organizational approach being applied in the electric cooperative.

The supposed to be the best electric cooperative in the Bicol region has been downgraded over and over again owing primarily to the instability of the managerial hold. It has been marked by very frequent turnover of the people supposed to rein over the operational aspect of the power firm. It has been handled by several OICs for almost two decades already.

From Engineer Antonio C. Borja,Jr.,the last general manager who held the position with permanent stratus, about ten have occupied the AGM post with OIC status only.

They are: Engr.Rodelo A.Pasumbal, Ms. Merced Ayab, Ms. Jane T. Barrameda, Eddie Adlao, Rolando A. Pante, Ms. Bernadette Gumba, Rolando Pante (again) and Orlando Andes (incumbent). Some have retired or have been made to retire, for varied reasons. There were times also that Atty. Veronica Briones,general manager of Casureco IV,worked as project supervisor of Casureco 2,after having managed briefly the electric cooperative in Albay.

The long perceived political under current had symbolically grounded Casureco 2’s operations. In plain, the padrino system caused the electrocution of the system. System loss not only leads to higher power cost. It also results in internal power play.

The very frequent turn over of people managing the largest cooperative in Camarines Sur, does not promote stability nor efficiency in its operations, more particularly In times of emergencies, like what has been happening during the last three weeks after typhoon Nina, when there is even a confusion as to who the AGM of Casureco 2 is.

Some media outlets did not even know what position is Rolando Pante holding. They keep addressing Pante as AGM, notwithstanding the fact that repeatedly he has been introducing himself as spokesman only of the cooperative, aside from being head of a department. It is gathered that when Andres gets invited to meetings intended to tackle the power restoration works, he usually begs off, for reason or reasons known only to him, as a consequence of which the rather parochial view that he behaves in this manner because he is not from this place would find a certain voltage of support.

What is troubling is the sneaking suspicion that NEA allows or promotes the practice. There is also the angle of vested interest particularly among some directors who have enriched themselves. And NEA appears to be part of the whole charade, by providing those in the local scene enough voltage to choke the cooperative to submission.

The dysfunction of the board, especially in these times when interest in becoming a director seems to be waning, given the increasingly stringent requirements imposed on aspirant directors, is disturbing.

A local court’s injunctive orders that eventuality got reversed with finality on appeal have affected adversely the consumers.It only led to a higher power cost, with the appurtenant penalties and charges. Only those desirous of publicity via professional and/or judicial show off, benefitted.

Given such situation, it is urgently necessary to provide Casureco 2 at least a semblance of stability, by hiring a general manager with regular or permanent status, to prevent the flickering quality of the coop’s operation. It causes disruptions of service and even irritation, as there is so much uncertainty in the entire organization.

Until such grounded and faulty set up is addressed, Casureco 2 consumers are left no choice but make do with an underused Orlando Andres and an overused Rolando Pante. They are not the cause but among the adverse effects of previously committed mistakes, wittingly or unwittingly.

Good morning judge

No to Martial Law

Eufronio K. Maristela Judge (Ret.)

THE IRREPRESSIBLE DU3 has been in his fightingest mood again when he declared the other day that not even the Supreme Court could stop him from declaring martial law if the illegal drug problem continued to worsen. The reported statement of the President amounts to an admission of the worsening situation of the drug problem in the country. No wonder President DU3 had earlier extended his self-imposed deadline from the original three months to six months to totally eradicate the drug menace. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, reportedly shrugged off the President’s statement by claiming through its spokesperson Theodore Ty that the Court does not respond to political statement. The controversial statement of the President “to ignore the Constitution and declare martial law if the drug problem became really virulent” was reportedly made before the gathering of businessmen in Davao City. From the legal standpoint, the President can impose martial law in the country for 60 days only on the ground of invasion or insurrection. It does not cite illegal drugs as justification for the imposition of martial law. And both the Supreme Court and Congress have the power to review and veto the martial proclamation. This stringent provision of the Constitution has been imposed because of our sad experience of martial rule during the time of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Be that as it may, it is heartening to note that the President’s allies both in Congress and in the Senate played down the President’s statement. As our fellow Bicolano and Nagaeno Presidential Legal Counsel has put it, the President’s statement is “but a dramatic and graphic presentation of an exercise of presidential power and duty imposed on him by the Constitution,”


Belated birthday greetings to Grace Inocentes of DWNX who celebrated her Nth birth anniversary yesterday, January 18. Congratulations also to Rev. Fr. Edgar Adversario, Parish Priest of the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in this city and his assistant Parish Priest Fr. Philippe for the successful celebration of the Feast of Sto. Nino. The Sto. Nino is the 2nd Patron of the ICP.

Condolence to the bereaved family of the late Sir Knight Cerilo “Ciloy” Vera Cruz who crossed the Great Beyond after a lingering illness. Also to the family of the late Atty. Rene Raneses whose passing away we learned from the radio news program of Jo Osabal.






siling labuyo

Vin d’Honneur

Al Villamora (Ret) Lt. COMMDR. USA

Vin d’honneur is a French word that is hard to pronounce. It literally means “Wine of Honor” or in other words, a glass of wine is offered in honor of a special guest. In the Philippines, there is this annual ritual after New Year’s Day that the president opens the Malacañang Palace to the diplomatic corps for socials with the administration’s chosen few. It is called vin d’honneur and the highlight of the event is the toast between the President and the Vatican ambassador to the Philippines – the Papal Nuncio.

The wine hosting tradition dates back to American colonial days in the Philippines when the American Governor-General would host such social event on New Year’s Day. Manuel L. Quezon continued this tradition when he became the president of the Commonwealth. Back then, it was a simple open house event on New Year’s Day hosted by the president. He basically stayed “home” in the afternoon at the Palace and received visitors from different sectors of society. President Corazon Aquino “modernized” the occasion by giving emphasis to the Pope’s ambassador and moved the event in the morning.

This year, the Vin d’honneur has become controversial not because President Rodrigo Duterte held it four days after the New Year but the attendant brouhaha regarding the guest list. The Office of the Vice President put out a statement that Vice President Leni Robredo was on the guest list but was disinvited at the last minute. Quickly, Malacañang factotums kicked in high gear the public relations machinery.

First was Ernesto Abella, the president mouthpiece who justified the email disinvite to Robredo as “conforming” to the president’s wish of keeping the event simple. Abella explained that keeping it simple meant that the guest list was trimmed and the co-hosting was limited to the Cabinet secretaries, the Senate president, and the Speaker of the House. Sans the PR somersaulting, what Abella could not say was that Robredo’s presence will no longer make it simple.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar was a little more upfront in defending his boss’s decision that having Robredo there would be a little awkward. He likened the event simply as the president’s prerogative to not invite somebody whom he does not get along with. Andanar’s retort came after Robredo’s comment that she did not want to make a big deal of the VP disinvite. Apparently her beef was in the way it was relayed via email.

Either way, what Abella or Andanar could not say was that with the diplomatic corps being in the audience, they only wanted the PDP-Laban leadership and allies there to ensure everything follows the script. Apparently, they were worried that Robredo might dress up ostentatiously or might make a scene and steal the show. In reality, Duterte probably just said, “I don’t want her there, period.” He did not want to have to have a conversation with the VP who might try to put a bug on his ear regarding her firing.

Lost in this so-called simplicity of simple minded Malacañang people is the fact that Robredo is the second highest elected official in the land and deserved to be there regardless of how they feel about her. It is really more of the office she represents. There is a saying that if you cannot respect the individual to at least respect the office he or she represents. Else, disrespecting the OVP could set a precedent for future presidents to do the same. A more biting and plausible justification and earn them pogi points would have been that the president did not want both of them in the same room because of rumors that somebody might try to kill the president and both could end up being killed. He wanted her to be sworn in as his successor if he dies. Or that Lenileaks and Duterte did not want the room getting wet.

Malacañang probably did not realize that by disinviting Robredo that they actually made the occasion more awkward in the eyes of the diplomatic corps especially after knowing the real reason for her absence. The Papal Nuncio for one must have noticed her absence. Being the Pope’s ambassador, he was briefed on where Duterte’s loyalties lie when it comes to the Catholic faith. Duterte’s tirade against the Catholic Church and the Extra Judicial Killing (EJK) are well publicized that it would be derelict for the Filipino bishops not to say anything to the Papal Nuncio. Robredo, on the other hand, is part of the Yellow brigade that former President Cory Aquino allied with the Church during and post-EDSA. Thus being in the same room with the uniformed military and police brass not to mention Duterte himself must have been an uncomfortable situation and raising that glass of wine with Duterte must have been truly an awkward moment for Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Pinto.

So when Archbishop Pinto wished for Duterte’s well-being, he was being polite and following protocol of not embarrassing the host. Duterte and his elk could learn something from the Papal Nuncio about social etiquette. Tradition calls for the VP to be there and out of respect for the Filipino people who voted for her that Robredo should have been extended that courtesy.

Robredo, on the other hand, played it nicely by putting the information out there while playing the “I don’t want to make big a big deal out of this” card. By putting it out there she basically put Duterte on report to the Filipino people for disrespecting her office. Furthermore, it put Malacañang on the defensive and made them appear small for picking on the VP and especially she’s a woman. It also made Duterte appear afraid of facing up to her vice president.

More than that, the president should be reminded that their petty quarrels should be kept out of the public domain because doing so makes them appear like petulant kids wanting more toys for themselves. Being from the different parties, people can understand why there is distrust among them but they are there to serve the Filipino people so they need to project a semblance of “unity” in purpose.

Robredo needs to realize that the Malacañang men are allergic to her because of their simple-minded boss. They want to keep her away as far as they could so the bossing will not have a bad day (and take it up on them) thus the impersonal way of texting or emailing her or by planting a presser for her consumption. They want the bossing to feel that his people are not giving Robredo “special” treatment by calling or having a meeting with her.

If Duterte would like to dwell on trivial matters, Robredo needs to do the opposite by embarking on substantive issues and let Duterte self-destructs. She does not have to criticize the administration every time because whether she likes it or not, she is part of it. But she could articulate why certain policies are good for the Filipino people or good for the country. Being antagonistic will not help her cause. Six years is a long time but just the right time she needs to learn the ropes of politics and to burnish her resume before the next presidential election. It is also a much needed time to rebuild and repackage the Liberal Party keeping in mind that the young generation now dominates the voting population.

With that let’s raise a glass of wine on the occasion of the Vin d’honneur with Pope John XXIII famous toast, “Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”

SP Highlights

SP’s first six months

Atty. Nelson S. Legacion Vice Mayor, Naga City

The overwhelming support we received last May 2016 is a referendum for continuous advancement of transparent and participatory governance in Naga. Hence, at the very onset of our renewed term, we have immediately worked hard to fulfil our end of our social contract with the people – that is, to make the best better.

For the first six months of our current term June 30, 2016- June 30, 2019, landmark legislative measures have been passed by the 12th Sangguniang Panlungsod, laying down policies and institutionalizing programs that enhance the city’s efficiency in delivering social services to the people, improving access to education, conserving the environment, addressing the city’s problem in solid waste management and responding to calamities and emergency situations. Allow me to begin with the ordinances this representation introduced and subsequently adopted by the city council:

• 30-Year Sustainable Urban Development Plan Ordinance (Ordinance No. 2016-038 enacted on August 16, 2016) – penned by this writer and co-sponsored by all the city councillors, this ordinance seeks to draft a roadmap that will guide the city’s equitable and long-term growth. It has tasked the City Planning and Development Office to conduct a city-wide consultation to obtain the people’s vision and aspiration for themselves, for their children and for their city. The 30-Year Sustainable Urban Development Plan will also provide the groundwork for building a world-class, self-reliant and caring city.

• Sanggawadan Ordinance (Ordinance No. 2016-043 adopted on September 6, 2016) – this legislative measure, with the able co-sponsorship of Councilors Gregorio Re Abonal, Jose C. Ranola, Elmer S. Baldemoro, Mila SD, Raquid-Arroyo and Ray-An Cydrick G. Rentoy, has institutionalized and has strengthened the Sanggawadan Program. Initiated by the beloved late Naga City Mayor and Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, the Sanggawadan has become a tool for thousands of marginalized Nagueños to gain access to quality basic education and, thus, uplift their quality of life. The ordinance set policies and created an office for the continuous implementation of said effective program and even added additional privileges to beneficiaries thereof, such as free hospitalization and medical assistance, death or burial assistance, housing assistance, livelihood loans, and values formation training to parents of children-beneficiaries.

• Salary Rationalization of Compensation for Non-Plantilla Personnel of the City Government of Naga (Ordinance No. 2016-071 approved on December 16, 2016) – this local law, sponsored by yours truly and Councilors Mila Raquid-Arroyo, Ray-An Rentoy and Salvador Del Castillo, recognizes the importance and contribution of job order, contractual and casual employees of the city government in making the city a truly Maogmang Lugar. This legislation, therefore, prescribes the fitting incentives and benefits for the ordinary workers who also contribute to making the city’s brand of governance extraordinary.

The other legislators of Naga have also showed vigor and dedication in promoting their respective advocacies. With Councilor Cecilia De Asis as chairwoman of the Committee on Appropriations, the council was able to pass on time the more than a billion pesos annual appropriation ordinance (Ordinance No. 2016-081) for 2017. Councilor Greg Abonal has advanced the cause of education by writing the Revised Raul Roco-Naga City Public Library Development Ordinance (Ordinance No. 2016-036) that creates a committee tasked to annually evaluate the status of the library and recommend improvements thereon. He also provided additional benefits to the elderly thru the Revised Consolidated Senior Citizens Ordinances (Ordinance No. 2016-054) he penned.

Thru Councilor Jose Rañola’s sponsorship of Resolution Nos. 2016-495 and 2016-503, the city has been able to link and forge sisterhood agreements with the Municipality of Siruma and Quezon City, respectively. With his care for the persons with disability and the children, Councilor Elmer Baldemoro has initiated the drafting of the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability and the revision of Comprehensive Code for the Welfare of Children to include recent local laws, such as Ordinance No. 2014-068 (Children’s Affairs Ordinance) and Ordinance No. 2014-072 (Most Child-Friendly Barangay Award Ordinance), which he himself authored.

Councilor Mila Raquid-Arroyo has championed people participation in operation of public utilities by writing Resolution No. 2016-442 that calls on the public to inform the City Treasurer of any public utility or telecommunication companies which the latter knows are operating without valid Mayor’s Permit. In the area of agriculture, Councilor Julian Lavadia, via Resolution No. 2016-234, spearheaded the effort of crafting a strategic plan or road map for agriculture.

On peace and order, Councilor Joselito Del Rosario advocated for the creation of the Drug Dependence Reintegration Fund (Ordinance No. 2016-037), the Naga City Integrated Emergency Response and Resilience Resource Action Center (Ordinance No. 2016-046), the Intra-City Trimobile Rationalization Technical Working Group and the Safe Sidewalks, Safe Streets Technical Working Group (4S TWG). Councilor Vidal Castillo, as head of the Committee on Infrastructure, called for the construction of the Balatas-Naga City Science High School Circumferential Road (Resolution No. 2016-218), the conversion into national roads of the Almeda Highway, the Balatas-Cararayan-San lsidro-Carolina Road, the Del Rosario-Cararayan-San lsidro-Carolina Road and the Queborac Drive (Resolution No. 2016-219), and the retrofitting of the Colgante Brdige and Balatas-Cararayan Bridge (Resolution No. 2016-377). To complement further our efforts to decongest traffic, Councilor Ray-An Rentoy, thru Resolution No. 2016-500, has strengthened the partnership between the Department of Public Works and Highways and the City Government of Naga relative to the installation of traffic lights in major junctions of the city.

As chairman of the Committee on Environment, Councilor Salvador Del Castillo has made considerable strides to resolve the city’s waste management issues. He is the author of Resolution Nos. 2016-203 and 2016-431 which green lighted the closure program of the Balatas Dumpsite, as well as of Resolution No. 2016-239 which created the Technical Working Group that will study the establishment of the city’s Sanitary Landfill, Waste to Energy Facility and Healthcare and Hazardous Waste Processing Plant in Barangay San Isidro. For the improvement of the barangays, meanwhile, Liga ng mga Barangay president and ex-officio councilor Tomas Ramon Sanchez pushed for the welfare of the barangays thru Ordinance No. 2016-078 granting barangay officials performance incentives.

In unity, there is strength. The legislative, in close coordination with the executive headed by our hardworking Mayor John G. Bongat, has pursued worthwhile reforms in various fields of governance. Collectively, Team Naga, in a short span of six months, has already set up measures to boost faster and further Naga’s equitable and sustainable socio-economic development. In the remaining period of our term, the Nagueños are assured that there will be no let up in our aggressive move to have a Maogmang Lugar that is world class, self-reliant and caring --- the best will be made better.


Vision despite the impairment

Joseph Ochoa

“Everything happens kind of the way it’s supposed to happen, and we just watch it unfold. And you can’t control it. Looking back, you can’t say, ‘I should’ve…’ You didn’t, and had you; the outcome would have been different.” - Rick Rubin

Last December 13, 2016, the Naga City Visually Impaired Association held its Yearend Evaluation and Gift-Giving at Naga City Hall People’s Hall, in which persons with visual impairment in Naga City converged in an annual general assembly, with song and dance performances, recreational activities (special thanks to Ms. Jeanette O. Naval and the Ateneo de Naga University SPED majors for the coordination of the games), lunch and snacks, and distribution of gifts. The main agendum of the convention was the yearend report of the association for the past year.

Among NACIVIA’s accomplishments were the distribution of gifts to indigent persons with visual impairment through reverse caroling on December 2015, conduct of Massage Therapy NC2 Training and TESDA Assessment for its member massage therapists on October 2016, participation in the Philippine Blind Union National Assembly and Evaluation and Planning Conference Workshop for the 13th World Blind Union Asia Pacific Massage Conference, in which selected officers attended, and NACIVIA President Jose “Butch” Robredo Jr., was elected among the Board of Trustees, and subsequently as Philippine Blind Union national president on November 2016, and participation in the International Day of Persons with Disability. Throughout the past year, NACIVIA massage therapists have sustained their services at the NACIVIA Massage Center at Plaza Rizal.

In these achievements, the Naga City sector of persons with visual impairment has confirmed itself as a self-sustaining body, with the intention and capability to support less empowered members. It has strongly validated the proficiency and expertise of its primary arm of source of revenue and means of support with TESDA NC2 certificates for its massage therapists. This firmly attests that NACIVIA massage therapists are highly skilled in accordance to national technical standards; and their practice is not simply a grant from charity or social welfare. The association’s massage services are at par if not more competent than their sighted counterparts. The local blind sector has escalated its potential for service in its participation in the last Philippine Blind Union assembly, especially with the election of its own head as national president. It continues to be a dynamic and active presence in the community of persons with disability in Naga City.

The association of persons with visual impairment sets its vision forward to more sustainable livelihood programs. It sets its sights on seeking opportunities of feasible markets of handcrafted specialties, as employment options for persons with blindness or low vision. Explorations are under way on collaborating with Eye Will Inc.; a Vietnam based American non-government organization which provides training and resources towards the education and rehabilitation of persons with visual impairment. All these dispositions are borne from the vision of total empowerment of the person with visual impairment in their inclusion in the sighted society.

As with any other endeavor, these undertakings are accompanied at the sides with threats. Curiously, as persons with difficulty in their visual faculties venture in a given occupation, persons without any given sensory challenge would engage in the very same trade, much to the vexation of the striving blind artisan. Naturally, even the most talented and most skilled craftsman with visual impairment would be outdone in the course of the hustle. For illustration, a blind person tests his skills in pottery. His normally clearly seeing neighbor clearly sees with his normally sighted eyes which are further unhindered with the absence of any sort of spectacles, and also fancies to, of all crafts, also pottery. As the blind novice potter is about to finish with his clay masterpiece, his sighted neighbor has already found clientele for his finished products. And all these are hidden in the most beautifully innocent guise of free trade as embedded in the tenets of democracy, justice and capitalism. Label it insensitivity or self-centeredness; this ill seems to cut the lane of the blind man’s drive up the highway. Now, this is an indirect response to the question of what the sighted community by the sidelines can do to further the cause of the advancing person with visual impairment.

In South Korea, “only the visually impaired can be licensed masseurs”, according to its Constitutional Court; upholding a law set up in 1912, “to help guarantee the blind a livelihood”, “, “to provide visually impaired people with an opportunity to have a personally rewarding occupation, and assure that they have means to earn a living; n.” (

All in all, the NACIVIA general assembly was a fitting venue and occasion for celebration and sharing; in tune with the past season.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming own from the Father…” James 1:17

Selda numero 10

Beloved mother

Jose B. Perez

I AM on leave, but I wish to take this chance to convey our sincerest thanks to relatives, in-laws, friends, and neighbors who have offered prayers, mass cards, sent flowers and expressions of love and sympathy in memory of our beloved mother, Rosa Arroyo Beldua Perez, 87, who peacefully passed away last January 13, 2017 at our sister’s home in RJ Village, Canaman, Camarines Sur.

I am extending by heartfelt appreciation to all the doctors and gracious nurses and hospital staff at the NICC Doctors Hospital in Naga City for attending to my mother during her confinement due to mild stroke: Drs. Ted Semana, Joey Ranola, Zsa Divinagracia, Maribel Gutierrez, Bel Cabauatan, Abegail Abonal, and Dr. Magnaye. They are friends and co-workers of my sister (Dr. Maria Meden Perez-Cortero) in the medical profession.

To family friend and Parish Priest Fidel Mamerto Bagayaua for shedding tears with us as he administered the final rites and God’s blessings to my passing mother.

To Vice President Leni Robredo for sending us flowers and prayers. To Naga City Mayor John Bongat and his first lady for the beautiful flowers and for spending time with us at the wake. To Congressman Gabby Bordado also, for staying with us on the first night of the wake and sharing some stories about how she met my mother.

To my mother’s co-teachers, although some of them may have not been physically present because they may have been far away.

To Tourism Director Nini Ravanilla, House Secretariat Dir. Lina Jones, ever young friend Bong Sison, and Gilbert Albero and my fellow directors at the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry and co-TWG members at A-PAD Philippines and Tabang Bicol. To Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion, his wife Marion, City Councilors Sonny Ranola, Nene de Asis and Lito del Rosario and their colleagues at the Sangguniang Panglunsod. To DWNX and other radio stations who promptly announced the passing of my mother.

To Provincial Board Member Badong Simando and wife Grace. To former Provincial Board Member Bonifacia Tobias-Orino and her whole family.

To Noel de Luna for his friendship and generosity and huge bouquet of flowers.

Thanks, too, to my publisher Nilo Aureus and the whole Bicol Mail staff for sending flowers and attending the wake. To my siblings’ schoolmates and fellow office workers.

To real estate developer Engr. and Mrs. Boy Aman. To former Solicitor-General Joel Anselmo Cadiz. To my batchmates at both the Ateneo de Naga and Universidad de Sta. Isabel. To my peers in the literary and journalism profession. To GM Cesar Federizon of Metro Naga Water District.

To my mom’s friend and fellow school principal Luisa Pura Magtuto and her husband Ernesto.

To the countless Facebook friends who sent their prayers and expressions of condolences.

Our mom was a perfect mother. Born in Baao, Camarines Sur, she had the heart of a teacher both at home and in school where she eventually served as principal of the Camarines Sur National High School, her alma mater. Her classmate, US-based Hermito San Jose, sent a brief note to me through Facebook shortly after learning about her death that I would like to share with you, my dear readers: “Just a few more words, Joe. As you know your mom, Rosa Beldua, was my classmate and co-graduate (class ‘48) at the Cam. Sur National High School. So her death diminishes me personally. Your late dad, Dick Perez, was also my classmate, and he and Rose were high school sweethearts, a romance that blossomed into a successful family that includes you. I don’t know how many of us class ‘48 are still alive, and I don’t know how long I will last, for like your mom I’m now 87. Your mom’s face when we were classmates in 4-A is still very clear to me after these many years. The same with your dad. Now they’re together in God’s bosom where they rest in perpetual happiness and peace!”

Her neighbor, who’s also my friend, Doods Santos also wrote as she expressed her sentiments: “Our condolences, Joe and family. She was such a gracious and hard working woman. I still remember her gardening outside her home.”

Another neighbor, Tony Blando, who is now US-based but periodically comes home, posted on his Facebook: “Our sincerest sympathy and deepest condolences to your family for the passing of Tya Rose. She is now reunited with Tyo Dick.”

My young uncle (who’s usually mistaken as my cousin), Carlos A. Perez and his wife Yev (nee Prado)?, conveyed their feeling of sadness: “We are deeply sorry and express our condolences for the demise of your Mama Rose, my lovable and lovely cousin.”

To all of you, including those that I may have for the moment missed, we appreciate all the kindness and compassion you have shown to us. You are all important persons in our lives who stand with us and beside us during these times of sorrow.

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