PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

AQUINO SATISFACTION RATING IMPROVES 10% AFTER ALL-TIME LOW


JUNE 19 ---President Benigno S. Aquino III. FILE PHOTO
- The satisfaction rating of President Benigno Aquino III increased by 10 percentage points to 57 percent this month (from 47 percent in March), the latest Social Weather Stations poll showed. The survey, conducted from June 5 to 8 among 1,200 respondents, also showed that the number of dissatisfied Filipinos dropped to 27 percent (from 36 percent) while those undecided were at 15 percent (from 17 percent), resulting in a net satisfaction rating of a “good” +30. This is a big improvement from the moderate +11 rating, considered an all-time low, the President received last March. The survey was released more than a month before Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address. The SWS poll, first published in BusinessWorld, showed that Mindanao gave Aquino the highest net satisfaction rating (+39), followed by Visayas (+35), and the rest of Luzon (+30). While ratings were “good” for the said region, net satisfaction for Aquino in the National Capital Region remained “neutral” at +8. SWS classifies its net satisfaction scores as follows: +70 and above, “excellent;” +50 to +69, “very good;” +30 to +49, “good;” +10 to +29, “moderate;” +9 to -9, “neutral;” -10 to -29, “poor;” -30 to -49, “bad;” -50 to -69, “very bad;” -70 and below, “execrable.”  READ MORE...

ALSO BBL 'payola': Liberal Party officials linked to BI scandal


JUNE 21 ---Suspected Chinese crime lord Wang Bo on Tuesday denied bribing officials of the Bureau of Immigration to sign his release papers, as he dismissed the allegation that he gave $10 million to members of the House of Representatives as bribe.
GMA NEWS FILE PHOTO by Xianne Arcangel JUNE 16, 2015
THERE may be credence to allegations that some Liberal Party (LP) officials had a hand in a controversy at the Bureau of Immigration (BI)  involving a Chinese fugitive who allegedly bribed some govt officials to ensure his continued stay in the country. An agency source claimed that BI executive director Eric Dimaculangan is the “point man” at the bureau. Dimaculangan, he said, is also being groomed by people close to President Benigno Aquino 3rd to replace Commissioner Siegfred Mison. The source said it was Dimaculangan who included the deportation case of Wang Bo in the May 21, 2015 agenda of BI officials who eventually allowed the Chinese felon to stay. On March 5, 2015, Mison and Associate Commissioners Abdullah Mangotara and Gilberto Repizo ordered Wang deported. But on May 21, they reversed their order and required presentation of authenticated documents like the warrant for Wang’s arrest issued by Chinese authorities and proof of cancellation of his passport. The reversal was done on a “technicality.” But on May 26, Mison presented a draft resolution, which again ordered the deportation of Wang. The Chinese has been in detention since his return to the country in February. The Manila Times source gave the paper a copy of the list of deportation cases in agenda that was prepared by Dimaculangan, showing, among others, the case of Wang as the second to be tackled in those with “pending motions.” “Dimaculangan is close to the President because of his brother. READ MORE...

ALSO: Legal Eagles of PHL urged SC to void BBL
[In its 26-page petition, Philconsa, led by its president Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and former senator and The Manila Times columnist Francisco “Kit” Tatad asked the high tribunal to stop the Department of Budget and Management from releasing funds to pursue or implement the FAB, the CAB and the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).]


JUNE 19 ---LEGAL EAGLES Members of the Philippine Constitution Association (from left) former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Bishop Romulo dela Cruz, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, former senator Francisco Tatad, Archbishop Fernando Capalla and retired justice Manuel Lazaro show their copies of the petition they filed with the Supreme Court. PHOTO BY MELYN ACOSTA
The Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and a former congressman asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday to declare unconstitutional the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which negotiators from the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed in 2014. Two similar petitions were filed earlier by lawyer Oliver Lozano and a certain Rolando Mijares. An SC source, however, said the justices would likely dismiss the cases for being premature. Ma;acanang deputy l spokesman Abigail Valte questioned the timing of the filing of the petitions “It is interesting that these challenges to the FAB and CAB come at this time, more than a year after both were signed,” she said in a text message to reporters. The government signed the FAB with the MILF in October 2012, and the CAB in March last year. Valte said they are confident that government lawyers would be able to defend the signing of the peace agreement before the Supreme Court. “Government will be ready to answer once the Supreme Court directs us to do so,” she added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Infamous M’sapano, China row drag PH peace rank to a big low


JUNE 21 ---Malacañang acknowledged on Saturday the latest report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), ranking the Philippines 141st out of 162 countries in its Global Peace Index (GPI) this year. The Philippines dropped seven places from its 134th position last year as the Sydney-based global organization described current state of peace in the country as “low” with a score of 2.462. FROM http://www.pcoo.gov.ph/  The tense situation in the West Philippine Sea and the infamous Masasapano incident has contributed to the big drop of the Philippines’ Global Peace Index ranking.  According to the 2015 Global Peace Index report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the Philippines is now placed 141st from 134 in 2014. The Global Peace Index measures the state of peace in 162 countries based on 23 indicators in three main categories – ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security and militarization. The report said 81 countries have become more peaceful in 2014 while 78 have deteriorated.
The Philippines scored 2.462 in the index and was among the countries with “low” state of peace. Last year, the Philippines was in 134th place with a score of 2.456. The Philippines is ranked last among Southeast Asian countries and is just ahead North Korea in the Asia-Pacific. The West Philippine Sea remains a potential area for conflict, with countries involved in the dispute (China, Vietnam and the Philippines) all showing a worsening of their scores in the 2015 index, the report said.
READ MORE...

ALSO FATHER's LOVE --A fisherman’s tale: ‘My job is to make my kids survive’


JUNE 21 ---FATHER’S LOVE – Jonathan Buenafe, a poor fisherman from Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, enjoys a brief moment with his three children before setting out to the ocean to catch fish and earn a living for his family. Despite challenges in life, Buenafe remains focused on his only job for the survival of his three children, two them mentally challenged. (Juan Carlo de Vela)
When does despair come to a father of three, two of them with special needs, whose wife had left to look for a job five years ago and did not come back; whose house had been destroyed by deterioration and poverty; and whose motorized banca, donated by a foundation, had been immobilized by a falling coconut? “Pas-an ko tanan,” Jonathan Buenafe, 47, said. The old Illongo saying means – I carry everything on my shoulder. It states the story of his life. Even despair is a feeling he cannot afford. And it is his fate, he said. “Sigue lang. Amo na ang bu-ot sang Diyos sa akon. (Nevermind, this is God’s will.)”  To this poor fisherman, his main role in life is to feed his children and survive the day. “Tulo lang luha ko. Pero ang akon na lang subong kon paano ko mapabuhi ang mga bata (My tears fall when I think of my situation, but my focus now is how I can keep my children alive). “My job is to make my kids survive,” he said  READ MORE...

ALSO: Rainy season may start in few days


JUNE 21 ---FILE PHOTO
 A low-pressure area spotted off Samar might trigger the onset of the rainy season this week, the state weather bureau said yesterday. The low-pressure area is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring moderate to heavy rainfall in Western Luzon and the Visayas, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. As of 10 a.m. yesterday, the pressure area was spotted 310 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. “This weather disturbance is expected to bring light to moderate rains over Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas,” the state weather bureau said. PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said the prevailing weather condition of the country is warm and humid characterized by the frequent occurrence of rainshowers and thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening. READ MORE...

ALSO by Francisco Tatad: The idiotization of our politics, continued


JUNE 18 ---by FRANCISCO S. TATAD
I wrote my last piece—the first part of this article—in the midst of EDSA’s horrible traffic, going to and coming from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to talk to a friend who was departing for Washington, D.C. and Quebec on some speaking engagements. As soon as it was done, I had to look for a free wifi zone along EDSA to beat an inflexible deadline. I found one in a friendly hotel, but in my rush to dispatch the article, I failed to copyread what I had written. This is a recurring failure. As a student of Chesterton, I have tried to justify this failing by quoting the old literary giant, “Having written it, no power on earth could compel me to read it.” Or words to that effect. So very early the next morning, a friend called to say I had done a great job, except that I had left a couple of sentences unedited, and omitted most of the things I should have put in. He was absolutely right, so this is an attempt to make amends. SEVERAL issues contribute to the continuing idiotization of our politics. As noted earlier, the propaganda surveys are its most deceptive instrument. But we have to consider the roles of the oligarchy and big business, the military and the police, foreign governments, foreign NGOs and foreign institutions, the Church, the bureaucracy, the political dynasties, and the electoral process itself. All of these, in varying degrees, contribute to the idiotization of our politics. Except that we cannot hope to cover all of these even in a series of columns. A younger person with more years ahead of him should probably embark on this project. Whoever is in power, the oligarchy and big business like to exercise control. They try to own not just Congress or the Cabinet or some members thereof, but the President himself. Thus, a group of tycoons reputedly headed by someone known as RR, whose power and influence have risen beyond all proportions from Erap to PNoy, is reportedly planning to bankroll the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, even though she is not even a natural born Filipino—she is also married to an American citizen—-and therefore not qualified to run for president or vice president or even to continue sitting in the Senate.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Aquino satisfaction rating improves after all-time low – SWS


President Benigno S. Aquino III. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, JUNE 22, 2015 (INQUIRER) June 19th, 2015 - The satisfaction rating of President Benigno Aquino III increased by 10 percentage points to 57 percent this month (from 47 percent in March), the latest Social Weather Stations poll showed.

The survey, conducted from June 5 to 8 among 1,200 respondents, also showed that the number of dissatisfied Filipinos dropped to 27 percent (from 36 percent) while those undecided were at 15 percent (from 17 percent), resulting in a net satisfaction rating of a “good” +30.

This is a big improvement from the moderate +11 rating, considered an all-time low, the President received last March.

The survey was released more than a month before Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address.

The SWS poll, first published in BusinessWorld, showed that Mindanao gave Aquino the highest net satisfaction rating (+39), followed by Visayas (+35), and the rest of Luzon (+30).

While ratings were “good” for the said region, net satisfaction for Aquino in the National Capital Region remained “neutral” at +8. SWS classifies its net satisfaction scores as follows: +70 and above, “excellent;” +50 to +69, “very good;” +30 to +49, “good;” +10 to +29, “moderate;” +9 to -9, “neutral;” -10 to -29, “poor;” -30 to -49, “bad;” -50 to -69, “very bad;” -70 and below, “execrable.”

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Among class ABC, Aquino’s net satisfaction recovered by 38 points to a “good” +44 (from +6 in March). Net satisfaction rose by 17 points (now +27, from +10) among class D and by 16 points (now +34, from +18) among class E.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President is “gratified” that the public “recognize the efforts of his administration to improve the delivery of public services and continue implementing vital reforms so that the fruits of good governance and may be sustained and made permanent.”

“We will intensify efforts to accelerate the development of public infrastructure, broaden social protection, and strengthen public institutions so that the ultimate objective of achieving long-term inclusive growth may be attained,” he said. IDL


MANILA TIMES

Liberals linked to BI scandal June 21, 2015 11:18 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO, SENIOR REPORTER


JUNE 21 ---Suspected Chinese crime lord Wang Bo on Tuesday denied bribing officials of the Bureau of Immigration to sign his release papers, as he dismissed the allegation that he gave $10 million to members of the House of Representatives as bribe. GMA NEWS FILE PHOTO by Xianne Arcangel JUNE 16, 2015

THERE may be credence to allegations that some Liberal Party (LP) officials had a hand in a controversy at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) involving a Chinese fugitive who allegedly bribed some government officials to ensure his continued stay in the country.

An agency source claimed that BI executive director Eric Dimaculangan is the “point man” at the bureau. Dimaculangan, he said, is also being groomed by people close to President Benigno Aquino 3rd to replace Commissioner Siegfred Mison.

The source said it was Dimaculangan who included the deportation case of Wang Bo in the May 21, 2015 agenda of BI officials who eventually allowed the Chinese felon to stay.

On March 5, 2015, Mison and Associate Commissioners Abdullah Mangotara and Gilberto Repizo ordered Wang deported.

But on May 21, they reversed their order and required presentation of authenticated documents like the warrant for Wang’s arrest issued by Chinese authorities and proof of cancellation of his passport.
The reversal was done on a “technicality.”

But on May 26, Mison presented a draft resolution, which again ordered the deportation of Wang. The Chinese has been in detention since his return to the country in February.

The Manila Times source gave the paper a copy of the list of deportation cases in agenda that was prepared by Dimaculangan, showing, among others, the case of Wang as the second to be tackled in those with “pending motions.”

“Dimaculangan is close to the President because of his brother.

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There is an ongoing move to ease out Mison and the two associate commissioners to clear the way for Dimaculangan’s appointment which may happen in July,” said the source.

The agenda prepared by Dimaculangan was received by the Office of the Commissioner on May 20, based on an official receipt stamp on the document.

According to the source, Dimaculangan is the brother of Manny, a close friend of Aquino who arranged acquisition of the controversial Porsche Carrera sports car that Aquino bought in 2011.

Manny is regarded as one of the best car buffs in the country. It was he who informed the President about the sports car and bought it for P4.5 million.

In wake of a deluge of criticisms for his “toy,” Aquino later decided to sell the car.

Interestingly, the agenda prepared by Eric lacked vital information on the case of Wang such as the date of charge and its transmittal to his office and the decision rendered.

The document described Wang as a “fugitive; undocumented; undesirable.”

The three immigration commissioners allegedly received P100 million from Wang so he would remain in the country and not sent back to Malaysia, where he came from last February.

Repizo allegedly collected an additional $10 million (P440 million) for the LP, which supposedly used the money to bribe congressmen for the approval of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), an accusation that the officials vehemently denied.

The money was supposedly turned over to Mindoro Oriental Gov. Alfonso Umali, LP treasurer, and with whom Repizo is said to be closely associated.

In a recent House hearing, the BI officials cleared lawmakers and the administration party of involvement in the Wang controversy.

“There is no member of the House and there is no political party involved in this case. It is a simple summary deportation process,” Mison told an investigating panel.


MANILA TIMES

Legal Eagles of PHL urged SC to void BBL June 19, 2015 11:19 pm by JOMAR CANLAS SENIOR REPORTER


LEGAL EAGLES Members of the Philippine Constitution Association (from left) former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Bishop Romulo dela Cruz, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, former senator Francisco Tatad, Archbishop Fernando Capalla and retired justice Manuel Lazaro show their copies of the petition they filed with the Supreme Court. PHOTO BY MELYN ACOSTA

The Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and a former congressman asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday to declare unconstitutional the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which negotiators from the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed in 2014.

Two similar petitions were filed earlier by lawyer Oliver Lozano and a certain Rolando Mijares.

An SC source, however, said the justices would likely dismiss the cases for being premature. Malacanang deputy l spokesman Abigail Valte questioned the timing of the filing of the petitions “It is interesting that these challenges to the FAB and CAB come at this time, more than a year after both were signed,” she said in a text message to reporters.

The government signed the FAB with the MILF in October 2012, and the CAB in March last year. Valte said they are confident that government lawyers would be able to defend the signing of the peace agreement before the Supreme Court.

“Government will be ready to answer once the Supreme Court directs us to do so,” she added.

READ MORE...

In its 26-page petition, Philconsa, led by its president Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and former senator and The Manila Times columnist Francisco “Kit” Tatad asked the high tribunal to stop the Department of Budget and Management from releasing funds to pursue or implement the FAB, the CAB and the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Joining Romualdez and Tatad in the petition were Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. Romualdez is the first cousin of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, which rejected the draft BBL. Philconsa said the balance of unspent funds intended for the contested deals should instead be returned to the National Treasury.

Also, the petitioners asked that the Commission on Audit be barred from auditing funds and expenses incurred by the government peace panel that negotiated with the MILF.

The chairman of the government peace panel should also be admonished and be warned “to be more prudent and cautious in dealing with the amorphous, self-styled entity, exclusively to the exclusion of other Muslims, Christians and lumads,” the Philconsa said.

Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen headed the peace panel when the FAB was signed while his successor, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, signed the CAB.

According to the Philconsa, Leonen, thru the FAB, “agreed and granted unimaginable social, economic, political and financial benefits to the MILF which the executive department may not legally grant without the concurrence of the legislative or the judicial department, or without first amending the 1987 Constitution.”

It argued that the peace process was flawed because it excluded other rebel groups from the negotiations, namely the Moro National Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

“The peace process should be defined by all Filipinos as one community, not by the GPNP [government peace negotiating panel] and MILF panels only,” the petition read.

Philconsa also accused Leonen and Ferrer of usurping a power they did not have when they committed to cause the amendment of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and existing laws to conform with the FAB and CAB.

“The FAB and CAB are nothing but toxic intellectual contortions meant to delude and deceive the people into believing that they could take them as a panacea for their organic ills when they were actually designed to subvert them,” the petition read.

“In agreeing to replace the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] with the Bangsamoro, in violation of the Constitution and existing laws, without first amending the Constitution and pertinent laws, the FAB and the CAB have caused undue injury to the government and inflicted a fatal wound upon the Constitution,” it said.

In former congressman Jacinto Paras’ petition, he argued that that the CAB and FAB violated the consultation requirement under Executive Order 3, and memorandum of instructions of the President; executed in excess of authority for the guarantee that “certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be amended to suit the provisions of the [CAB and FAB]; are violative of the Constitution for describing the Bangsamoro’s relationship with the national government as “asymmetric,” providing for “territorial waters;” allowing a parliamentary form of government; the creation of an own auditing body; and grant of concurrent and exclusive powers.”

“By allowing a violation of the Constitution, the law, and the settled jurisprudence, respondents acted in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction,” his petition read. WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE


INQUIRER

M’sapano, China row drag PH peace rank June 20, 2015 10:30 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE


JUNE 21 ---Malacañang acknowledged on Saturday the latest report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), ranking the Philippines 141st out of 162 countries in its Global Peace Index (GPI) this year. The Philippines dropped seven places from its 134th position last year as the Sydney-based global organization described the current state of peace in the country as “low” with a score of 2.462. FROM http://www.pcoo.gov.ph/ 

The tense situation in the West Philippine Sea and the infamous Masasapano incident has contributed to the big drop of the Philippines’ Global Peace Index ranking.

According to the 2015 Global Peace Index report issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the Philippines is now placed 141st from 134 in 2014.

The Global Peace Index measures the state of peace in 162 countries based on 23 indicators in three main categories – ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security and militarization.

The report said 81 countries have become more peaceful in 2014 while 78 have deteriorated.

The Philippines scored 2.462 in the index and was among the countries with “low” state of peace. Last year, the Philippines was in 134th place with a score of 2.456.

The Philippines is ranked last among Southeast Asian countries and is just ahead North Korea in the Asia-Pacific.

The West Philippine Sea remains a potential area for conflict, with countries involved in the dispute (China, Vietnam and the Philippines) all showing a worsening of their scores in the 2015 index, the report said.

Although the likelihood of further military skirmishes in the disputed waters is high, a large-scale military engagement remains unlikely, the report said.


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“The Philippines suffered from an escalation of internal conflicts between the government and rebel groups occurring late in the measurement period,” the report added.

Commenting on the analysis that the territorial row with China was among the contributing factors to the lowering of the country’s ranking, Malacañang said

Manila will stick to its “rules-based” approach on the matter.

“Government has always advocated a peaceful and rules-based approach in resolving the issues concerning the West Philippine Sea, and from the outset, the Philippines chose arbitration as the vehicle towards attaining that goal,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on state-run dzRB radio.

“In fact, the international community expressed solidarity in this approach chosen by the Philippines,” he added.

The Philippines had sought international arbitration in its sea dispute with China, which has maintained its presence in the area including the Scarborough Shoal.

“We are awaiting the findings of the permanent court of arbitration on this matter,” Coloma said.

On one hand, the Palace official maintained that achieving long-term peace, stability, and progress in Mindanao remains the “top priority of the government.”
“Thus, it is working towards the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Although debates about the BBL went beyond the last session of Congress, we see this as an opportunity to harmonize the differing viewpoints,” he said.


MANILA BULLETIN

FATHER'S LOVE -A fisherman’s tale: ‘My job is to make my kids survive’ by Pinky Concha - Colmenares June 21, 2015 Share0 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share10


FATHER’S LOVE – Jonathan Buenafe, a poor fisherman from Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, enjoys a brief moment with his three children before setting out to the ocean to catch fish and earn a living for his family. Despite challenges in life, Buenafe remains focused on his only job for the survival of his three children, two them mentally challenged. (Juan Carlo de Vela)

When does despair come to a father of three, two of them with special needs, whose wife had left to look for a job five years ago and did not come back; whose house had been destroyed by deterioration and poverty; and whose motorized banca, donated by a foundation, had been immobilized by a falling coconut?

“Pas-an ko tanan,” Jonathan Buenafe, 47, said. The old Illongo saying means – I carry everything on my shoulder. It states the story of his life. Even despair is a feeling he cannot afford.

And it is his fate, he said. “Sigue lang. Amo na ang bu-ot sang Diyos sa akon. (Nevermind, this is God’s will.)”

To this poor fisherman, his main role in life is to feed his children and survive the day.

“Tulo lang luha ko. Pero ang akon na lang subong kon paano ko mapabuhi ang mga bata (My tears fall when I think of my situation, but my focus now is how I can keep my children alive).

“My job is to make my kids survive,” he said

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The sea is his source of food. He has been fishing since he was 10, he said. His father was a fisherman; his brothers are fishermen. They live beside the sea in Barangay Gargato, Hinigaran, where the serene beachfront has already inspired entrepreneurs to set up small resorts.

His banca “parks” in front of a resort and he has been asked to move it elsewhere, to clear the way for a more idyllic beach front panorama.

Since fishing is Jonathan’s only skill, he goes out to sea whenever he can – either alone in his boat or with a group in a bigger boat to catch more fish to feed his three children – Kenneth, 16, John Glen, 10, and Jonalyn, 7. John Glen and Jonalyn have been diagnosed as mentally challenged.

The catch – depending on the season – gives him the cash to buy rice and pay for fuel.

In April, 2013, he received a motorized banca from the Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC), a foundation that has already given 4,600 bancas to fishermen’s helpers who wished to become fishermen.

It is the banca that sustains his family but when the fish are in season, he rides out with a brother in a bigger banca farther out to sea to catch more – and bring home more than the P100 a day he averages on his own.

On good summer days, the bigger banca hauls in about four boxes of galunggong. If they can sell that for P150 a box, they have P600, which the four fishermen divide among themselves, after expenses.

But a generous fish season also means that other fishermen are harvesting more.

Hence, prices in the market are lower, sometimes too low. Jonathan said they have to sell their catch no matter the low price or it will go to waste.

They have no facility to store the fish, and bringing it back home means paying for fare.

For the first time during our conversation, he verbalized a thought for the community.

like me. The associations are for those who can afford to process the fish into dried fish. They can dictate the prices of what we catch.”

He shrugs that off as part of life. He does not seem to worry too much about having nothing to feed his children. “In this community, people are generous with their food. If you have none, just go to a house and ask, and they will give you,” he said.

But before you get to that, there’s the sea for food, he said.

The sea is his workplace and he respects its mood. Before he goes out to sea every morning, he says a prayer – first, to ask for a good catch, and second, that he will come back to his children.

“Sometimes the sea is greedy, there is no fish, so I move somewhere else. Sometimes the weather changes suddenly, the sea becomes rough. Once, the waves overturned my boat and I had to cling to it until rescuers came,’’ he said.

When he is not fishing, Jonathan is a parent – and at such times, he loses the chance to earn. His time is taken by tasks involved in taking care of two children with special needs.

“Akon tanan, (I do everything),” he said. He spoon-feeds, bathes, and entertains his two children. When he has to go somewhere, he carries the youngest one like a baby. Neighbors only have good words about his parenting. “Jonathan cannot earn during the times he has to look after his children, but he does not complain,” a neighbor said.

This father’s loving care shows through the behavior of his children. They are well-groomed, charming, and well-behaved. He has taught them some manners; they behaved well during the time we were with them.

Like any children, they enthusiastically consumed the doughnuts and candies we brought, but ate them without making a mess. Unlike most kids who demand attention when there is a visitor, the children sat where they were and behaved quite well.

It was his children’s needs that led him to NVC Foundation. Since they were malnourished, they qualified for a feeding program organized by NVC. It was there where he met NVC Foundation President Millie Locsin Kilayko who later retold Jonathan’s story to this writer.

Ms. Kilayko said she was attracted to the well-groomed and charming children, who were pleasant at the gathering. It was also there where Jonathan had asked for a boat. On April 30, 2013, NVC donated a motorized banca to Jonathan.

He has no bitter feelings that his two kids are mentally challenged. “They are my children,” he said.

Sadness comes from his wife walking away from them. “That is what really makes me sad. It is so painful that she just left. She went to Manila to look for a job and then did not communicate with us. That was five years ago.”

When his house was destroyed by a heavy rain, Jonathan and his three children went to live on his parents’ house, a 12-foot x 14-foot bamboo structure that’s nicely ventilated by bamboo slots laid in a crossing pattern.

With his parents out on vacation, he leaves his kids in that house when he goes out to sea at 3 a.m. He locks the bamboo door with a neat knot to keep the children inside until he comes back mid-morning.

His son Kenneth feeds the two younger ones before he leaves for school at six. Then he ties the knot to lock the door when he leaves. The breeze and the view outside keep the children occupied and out of trouble – perhaps until one of them learns how to untie the knot.

“Sometimes when someone cries, a neighbor checks on them,” he said. But that is not always possible because neighbors also have chores to do, like go out to sea and fish.

Does he think of the future? Yes, he said. The future is his son, Kenneth, who is now in fourth year high school. “I want him to finish school so he can help us and he can have a better life,” Jonathan said, allowing his gaze to fall on his good son who had sat quietly beside him all through the interview.

Kenneth walks about five kilometers to the highway where he catches a jeepney that would take him to Hinigaran National High School. He is back by lunch to join his family.

By then, his father is back from the sea and the family sits to have a meal. “All I need is enough money to buy rice. The fish comes from the sea,” he said.

Tomorrow, Jonathan will look for a way to give a meal to his children again. “That’s my job,” he said.


PHILSTAR

Rainy season may start in few days By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 21, 2015 - 12:00am 4 2 googleplus0 0


File photo

MANILA, Philippines - A low-pressure area spotted off Samar might trigger the onset of the rainy season this week, the state weather bureau said yesterday.

The low-pressure area is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring moderate to heavy rainfall in Western Luzon and the Visayas, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

As of 10 a.m. yesterday, the pressure area was spotted 310 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

“This weather disturbance is expected to bring light to moderate rains over Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas,” the state weather bureau said.

PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said the prevailing weather condition of the country is warm and humid characterized by the frequent occurrence of rainshowers and thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening.

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“This development signifies the imminent onset of the rainy season under Type 1 climate which covers the western parts of Luzon and the Visayas and may set in within the next few days,” he added.

The PAGASA official, however, noted that monsoon breaks or periods of no rain for a few weeks are expected during the rainy season.

PCG on alert Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has started preparing its boats and equipment for search and rescue operations during floods.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo yesterday said commandant Admiral Rodolfo Isorena has issued directives to all districts and field stations to be on alert for the coming rainy season and conduct an inventory of their assets on Tuesday.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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