SURVEY: 6 OUT OF 10 PINOYS THINK GOVT ILL-PREPARED TO COPE WITH DISASTERS

Six out of 10 Filipinos think that the government’s preparation and response to disasters – in particular the Nov. 8, 2013 catastrophe brought by super-typhoon “Yolanda” – were insufficient, the latest Ibon Foundation survey results showed. The country commemorated the fifth month since “Yolanda” struck the Visayas region last March 8. Asked if the national government’s preparations to reduce disaster risks and damage that may be caused by natural hazards, such as typhoons and earthquakes are enough, 61.2 percent of the respondents answered “no.” Only 28 percent of the respondents said the preparations for the typhoons were enough. Asked in particular if they think the national government’s response to disaster risks and damage caused by typhoon “Yolanda” is enough, 63.1 percent answered “no,” while only 28.4 percent answered “yes.”

ALSO: Lent in the time of selfies and ‘pork’

According to Catholic Church teachings, the season should be observed with prayer, fasting and abstinence. It should also be a time of personal sacrifice, which, in today’s reality, where everything can be done and had in an instant, seems difficult to do, especially for the youth.
Father Larry Tan, SDB, who works closely with the youth through different organizations at the Don Bosco Technical Institute, is well aware of this fact. Thankfully, the man of God has a gift of getting through to the youth who feel they can relate to him. Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of Lent. Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of Lent. Nevertheless, he told The Sunday Times Magazine that Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday, is still given reverence by Filipinos as a whole. “I don’t see any significant difference or change in how lent is celebrated in the Church today. The essentials are set and the traditions are standard. Although the practices may no longer be as intense and austere as in the past, the spirit of Lent is basically the same,” he observed. He does acknowledge, however, that many young Filipinos seem disinterested in observing the Lenten season, not because they intentionally refuse to, but most likely because they are unaware of its significance. “Religious ignorance is one of the biggest problems of the church today. If they [the youth] are not taught, how will they know [about Lent]? If they do not know, how will they understand? If they do not understand, how can they become good and honest Christians today?”

ALSO: 'Tuwid na daan' in Ilocos region

Thanks to the budget airline’s airfare promo; I have found the “tuwid na daan.” Strangely, it’s in the Ilocos region, home of the Marcoses. The late president Ferdinand Marcos, probably the most hated and perceived as the most corrupt Philippine president, seemingly remains well-loved and remembered by his fellow Ilocanos, as reflected in the victory of his wife Imelda, daughter Imee, and son Bongbong in their candidacies since they came back from self-exile about two decades ago. It may sound ironic that “tuwid na daan” is the campaign slogan of President Benigno Aquino 3rd against corruption. It is a mantra that was meant to help restore people’s faith in politics and politicians. In spite of claims of success in bringing about reforms in curbing corruption and regaining investor confidence in doing business in the country, critics find more reason to harp strongly on the administration’s anti-corruption campaign. Let me make it clear that the “tuwid na daan” I saw during a recent three-day road trip around Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur was the physical straight, smooth path to the areas frequented by tourists. Ilocos Norte, where Imee Marcos is governor, is obviously being developed as a choice destination for tours, and conventions or seminars.

ALSO: Archbishop Quevedo: God’s gift to Ilocandia, Mindanao & the entire country

We, the people of Sarrat, have a new reason to be very proud and feel quevedoblessed nowadays. Why? Because of the recent elevation to Cardinal of our very own Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, DD. At present, he is the Archbishop of Cotabato. His family roots are from Sarrat. He is the youngest child of Mr. Zosimo Quevedo and Mrs. Ursula Beltran Quevedo, both of Barangay No. 2, this town. Both were teachers, and the young Orlando was aged 8, when the family migrated to Mindanao in 1947. The Archbishop was born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte because the parents were then living in Laoag where they were teaching at the Shamrock Elementary School in 1939. Later, he went to grade school at the Sarrat Central School.
For the record, he will be the first Ilocano Cardinal of the Catholic Church The newspaper Daily Inquirer, in announcing the appointment of the new Cardinal by Pope Francis, said he is “God’s gift to Mindanao.” He is God’s gift to Ilocandia, nay the entire country, as well.


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Ibon: Gov’t deemed Ill-Prepared to cope with disasters

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Ellalyn De Vera

Six out of 10 Filipinos think that the government’s preparation and response to disasters – in particular the Nov. 8, 2013 catastrophe brought by super-typhoon “Yolanda” – were insufficient, the latest Ibon Foundation survey results showed.

The country commemorated the fifth month since “Yolanda” struck the Visayas region last March 8.

Asked if the national government’s preparations to reduce disaster risks and damage that may be caused by natural hazards, such as typhoons and earthquakes are enough, 61.2 percent of the respondents answered “no.”

Only 28 percent of the respondents said the preparations for the typhoons were enough.

Asked in particular if they think the national government’s response to disaster risks and damage caused by typhoon “Yolanda” is enough, 63.1 percent answered “no,” while only 28.4 percent answered “yes.”

The nationwide survey was conducted from January 16 to 24, 2014, among 1,500 respondents aged 18 years and above.

The results were released last Sunday.

The non-commissioned survey employed a multi-stage probability sampling scheme and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

FROM MANILA TIMES

Lent in the time of selfies and ‘pork’ March 8, 2014 10:38 pm by Carla Bianca V. Ravanes Contributor

Rediscovering the true meaning of the season



As citizens of a country that greatly reveres Christianity and religion, we have all grown up aware of, and even very much involved in, the Lenten season.

For those of us who belong to the older generation, we recall the days of Lent and the Holy Week at the end of these 40 days mostly spent solemnly, sans noise and distractions.

Such a time, however, seems incomprehensible for today’s generation, whose sense of normalcy is a fast-paced lifestyle, mainly attributed to the effects of modern technology.

How then do Filipinos today observe the season of Lent?

Lent and the youth

Lent is literally defined as the 40-day period of preparation for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. According to Catholic Church teachings, the season should be observed with prayer, fasting and abstinence. It should also be a time of personal sacrifice, which, in today’s reality, where everything can be done and had in an instant, seems difficult to do, especially for the youth.

Father Larry Tan, SDB, who works closely with the youth through different organizations at the Don Bosco Technical Institute, is well aware of this fact. Thankfully, the man of God has a gift of getting through to the youth who feel they can relate to him.


Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of Lent

Nevertheless, he told The Sunday Times Magazine that Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday, is still given reverence by Filipinos as a whole.

“I don’t see any significant difference or change in how lent is celebrated in the Church today. The essentials are set and the traditions are standard. Although the practices may no longer be as intense and austere as in the past, the spirit of Lent is basically the same,” he observed.

He does acknowledge, however, that many young Filipinos seem disinterested in observing the Lenten season, not because they intentionally refuse to, but most likely because they are unaware of its significance.

“Religious ignorance is one of the biggest problems of the church today. If they [the youth] are not taught, how will they know [about Lent]? If they do not know, how will they understand? If they do not understand, how can they become good and honest Christians today?”


Father Larry Tan, SDB, works closely with the youth to teach them the importance and significance of Lent CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Asked how he defines Lent to his students, he replied, “I tell them that we celebrate Lent to make us aware of the cost Jesus paid to save us from sin; to make us accept Jesus Christ as our Lord; and to make us act on our faith and live it as a loving response to Jesus by dedicating ourselves to spiritual renewal.”

While some would like to think that the advent of social media may take away the essence of Lent and the Church in general, Fr. Tan actually sees it is a good way to reach out to today’s generation.

“Social media has tremendously influenced our society today. Little by little, the Church is beginning to realize how important social media is in spreading the Word as evidenced by Pope Francis who has his own Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

He further emphasized that it is not only the youth who need to rediscover the true meaning of Lent but also those who belong to older generations. Fr. Tan believes that everyone, at this time, should be reminded to spend more time with Jesus through prayer, and encouraged to reflect on their lives and the world around them.

Lent and renewal

It has been four months since the country was brought down to its knees with the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

And since then, the nation has seen the hand of God working through kind-hearted individuals and organizations from within the Philippines and around the world to help rebuild Central Visayas.

According to Fr. Tan, however, the Philippines has not only been struck by natural disasters such as Typhoon Yolanda, but is also in the thick of moral decay.

“Worse than these physical calamities is the moral decay of our society: the graft and corruption in government, the PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] and DAP [Disbursement Acceleration Program] scandals that have robbed and rocked the country,” he lamented. “We are the most Catholic nation in Asia, but the prevalence of corruption and crime is a shame to us as people.”

And while both of these situations may be disheartening, Fr. Tan believes that Lent is the best time to heal and hopefully correct what is wrong in the country today.

“It is the appropriate period that should help us to renew ourselves spiritually and return to the Lord,” he related.

The first step is to admit our wrongdoings, and repent by asking the Lord and those who have been wronged for forgiveness. And if the mistake can be undone, the repentant should strive to do so.

If admission and repentance from those who have robbed the country’s coffers and deprived Filipinos of genuine public service seems to be impossible, Fr. Tan still has the faith that ordinary Filipinos can do so by being honest at work, and being fair to others.

Healing, according to the man of God, is one of the greatest benefits of the season, not only for those who have sinned, but also for those who have been in the receiving end of pain.

“It is quite impossible to go through life without being hurt and without hurting others.

The only way to patch up and make up is to let go of the hurt and let God touch our strained relationships.”

Forgiveness, he cited, is at the core of being whole again. “The key to healing is to forgive from the heart. When we hurt, it leaves a psychological scar. The scar leaves when we forgive those who hurt us to the point of loving them as Christ loves and forgave them. It is during the Lenten season that Jesus shows us the way toward wellness and wholeness.”

With all this said, Fr. Tan can only hope that the Lenten season will inspire Filipinos, young and old, to become more than just listeners of the Word, but doers of the Word.

To open up and experience the true love manifested by Jesus on the cross will effectively lead to one’s transformation.

“Hopefully, the understanding of the love of Jesus and what He did for us will help us become more authentic followers of Christ. That we can all be transformed to the point of Christian authenticity, of being more than just hearers, but also doers.” Photos by Rene Dilan, Ruy Martinez, Miguel de Guzman and Edwin Muli

Ilocos region’s ‘tuwid na daan’ March 9, 2014 11:06 pm by TITA C. VALDERAMA
TEA TIME MANILA TIMES


Tita Valderama

Thanks to the budget airline’s airfare promo; I have found the “tuwid na daan.”

Strangely, it’s in the Ilocos region, home of the Marcoses.

The late president Ferdinand Marcos, probably the most hated and perceived as the most corrupt Philippine president, seemingly remains well-loved and remembered by his fellow Ilocanos, as reflected in the victory of his wife Imelda, daughter Imee, and son Bongbong in their candidacies since they came back from self-exile about two decades ago.

It may sound ironic that “tuwid na daan” is the campaign slogan of President Benigno Aquino 3rd against corruption. It is a mantra that was meant to help restore people’s faith in politics and politicians.

In spite of claims of success in bringing about reforms in curbing corruption and regaining investor confidence in doing business in the country, critics find more reason to harp strongly on the administration’s anti-corruption campaign.

Let me make it clear that the “tuwid na daan” I saw during a recent three-day road trip around Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur was the physical straight, smooth path to the areas frequented by tourists.

Ilocos Norte, where Imee Marcos is governor, is obviously being developed as a choice destination for tours, and conventions or seminars.


ROADS TO THE BANGUI FARM

The roads are well paved and smooth. Vehicular traffic flows with ease even in the town centers. Training and convention venues abound, and more are under construction.

President Aquino’s “tuwid na daan” slogan refers to personal and moral values, which are beyond the physical aspect.

Physically, we have not seen much infrastructure projects built under the present leadership. Complaints about bureaucratic red tape and corruption in government deals still abound, and none of those charged in court has been convicted.

It is indeed unfair and improper to compare the physical “tuwid na daan” in the Ilocos region and President Aquino’s “tuwid na daan” anti-corruption slogan. I am not doing that. I was merely impressed with the good road network in the neighboring Ilocos provinces.

However, my friends and I wondered why the international airport in Laoag City is still in such a dilapidated state.

While waiting in line for check-in, a first-time visitor from Bacolod City complained about the crowded and untidy departure area. She remarked that while the roads in Ilocos were notable because it made her group’s long travels less tiring, the airport’s physical state somehow lessened her good impression of the province.

She said that her group of 30 persons went to Laoag from Manila on a luxury bus provided by Governor Marcos.

The travel took the group 12 hours with a few stops for meals and call of nature. Before reaching Ilocos, it was a bumpy ride, she said.

In some provinces and cities, the government had built new and bigger airports like in Davao, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro.

But their road networks are far from the wide and smooth highways of Ilocos. It was probably a choice for the local leaders between road and airport for priority infrastructure development.
 


Free Shuttle Service from Airport to Downtown Laoag (Centro)
Also: Laoag is a 10-14 hour drive from Manila.

When I was younger, my father used to share his admiration for Marcos for prioritizing roads and schools in his infrastructure development projects while Imelda took care of projects involving the arts and culture.

My father, who served as barangay secretary for 20 years during the Marcos administration, said that residents somehow feel progress when the roads in their community are well paved and that the children are more motivated to learn when they are not cramped in classrooms. Besides, he said, the road is the first thing that a visitor notices when setting foot in a new place.

Perhaps, building good roads to progress was a legacy that Marcos had left behind and that his children are continuing in their reign of the province.

That could also be President Aquino’s vision when he adopted the “tuwid na daan” mantra.

In a speech before Chinese investors in Shanghai in 2011, the President explained what “tuwid na daan” means.

He said it was to ensure a level playing field that requires undoing the mistakes of the past. “In some instances, this means reviewing contracts entered into without particular care for due process,” he told participants and delegates to the Philippine Eastern China Business Forum in the Chinese city.

This was also the reason that Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson gave when he cancelled several contracts in 2010 after discovering that necessary processes like public bidding and other provisions of the procurement law were either broken or totally not followed.

Sadly though, errant officials who tolerated or encouraged anomalous deals have not been punished and may even be still in business with government agencies.

The President is viewed as being soft on corruption especially in dealings involving his allies in the Liberal Party.

Critics cite the multi-billion peso misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as a political tool for the President to malign and pin down political foes while he shields those who aligned with him.

If the investigation and litigation process on those charged in connection with the PDAF scam continues to drag on, we may wake up one day seeing them in higher office, and the “tuwid na daan” slogan would prove to be just a campaign watchword.

At least in Ilocos, there is a “tuwid na daan” one can travel on without hitch.

FROM THE ILOCOS SENTINEL

Archbishop Quevedo: God’s gift to Ilocandia, Mindanao & the entire country Written by Poch de la Cruz posted in Ilocos Sentinel on Thursday, February 13th, 2014


Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, DD

We, the people of Sarrat, have a new reason to be very proud and feel quevedoblessed nowadays. Why?

Because of the recent elevation to Cardinal of our very own Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, DD. At present, he is the Archbishop of Cotabato.

His family roots are from Sarrat. He is the youngest child of Mr. Zosimo Quevedo and Mrs. Ursula Beltran Quevedo, both of Barangay No. 2, this town. Both were teachers, and the young Orlando was aged 8, when the family migrated to Mindanao in 1947.

The Archbishop was born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte because the parents were then living in Laoag where they were teaching at the Shamrock Elementary School in 1939. Later, he went to grade school at the Sarrat Central School.

For the record, he will be the first Ilocano Cardinal of the Catholic Church The newspaper Daily Inquirer, in announcing the appointment of the new Cardinal by Pope Francis, said he is “God’s gift to Mindanao.”

He is God’s gift to Ilocandia, nay the entire country, as well.

Archbishop Quevedo belongs to the eminent Ramon Racela clan that owned the property where the new Presidencia or municipal hall is located.

His cousins, whom we see from time to time, include retired Justice of the Court of Appeals Jose Racela Jr., Mrs. Betty Factora Merritt of the Board of Nursing, Atty. Teodoro Quevedo Pena, who was former Minister of Natural Resources during the administration of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and Mr. Max J. Edralin Jr., an icon in the public relations industry. He has a sister, Nelly, and two brothers, Vincent and Zosimo Jr., who now live in Manila.


PHOTO COURTESY OF http://harrybalais.com/travels/heritage-town-sarrat-ilocos-norte/

We remember that during the year 2000, the municipality of Sarrat, together with the Sarrat National High School Alumni Association, honored the Archbishop with the Millennium Role Model Award citing him as outstanding Sarrateno at the turn of the century during the town fiesta celebration.

The last time he visited Sarrat was two years ago when he attended the inauguration of the Diocesan Museum located at the ruins of the old convent. Among those who graced the occasion with him were the former First Lady, now Congresswoman Imelda R. Marcos and Archbishop of Lingayen Socrates Villegas, current president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

The announcement of Archbishop Quevedo’s elevation to Cardinal was greeted as a most welcome development in the Catholic church.

He is described as brilliant and courageous, and an intellectual giant who is expected to hasten the peace process in Mindanao and contribute to a more cordial collaboration between the church and state in advancing the material and spiritual well-being of the people.

He is known to be working behind the scenes to help the negotiations being held in Malaysia for the establishment of a new Bangsamoro autonomous region.


FIRST FOR MINDANAO. Newly-elevated Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of the Philippines (left) receives the scarlet silk biretta from Pope Francis

We are told that the appointment of Archbishop Quevedo was not expected. He was already preparing for his retirement at 75 on March 11.

Relatives have been preparing to go Cotabato for the celebration. He only learned about his elevation to Cardinal on television news.

When Mr. Max Edralin congratulated him after reading his new appointment in the newspapers, the new Cardinal replied on his cellular phone saying “Maraming Salamat Manong. God’s love is double-edged, totally surprising and humbling.” Archbishop Quevedo is due for retirement but by tradition, he can stay as a Cardinal until aged 80, it was learned.

Church record showed that the young Orlando studied at the Oblate College in Washington, DC and was ordained priest there at age 25 in 1964. He went to the Catholic University in America for his MA and to the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila for his doctorate degree. He took up Theology of Religious Life at St. Louis University in Missouri.

He has a distinguished career. He became a bishop at the age of 41 and then was appointed as the first Filipino president of the University of Notre Dame in Mindanao where, 20 years earlier, he studied and finished high school there.

Owing to his impressive contributions to reforms in the educational system, he received the TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) award for education. Later , he was reassigned to Vigan, Ilocos Sur in 1986 and served as Archbishop of Nueva Segovia for 12 years before becoming Archbishop of Cotabato in 1998. As president of CBCP from 1999 to 2003, it was learned, that he himself prepared all pastoral letters and statements of the CBCP.

Archbishop Quevedo also served two terms as Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops. Former Senator Francisco Tatad, a devout Opus Dei, recalled that Archbishop Quevedo had high regards of him by his brethren in the College of Bishops.

So in 1994, he got the highest number of votes in the selection of regional representatives to sit in the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. One story in that meeting is that, in the writing of the vision of the Synod in several languages, Archbishop Quevedo was selected to write the English version.

Archbishop Quevedo will be one of the two active Cardinals in the Philippines.

The other one is Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila. The two other Cardinals – Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal are now both retired.

Archbishop Quevedo is scheduled to go to Rome for his installation by Pope Francis on February 22.

Viva Cardinal Quevedo ! Viva Sarrat !


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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