IT TOOK me more than two months going in circles. Well, not only about personal concerns, but literally going around the whole island of Luzon—meeting groups, mostly of the academe, involved with information technology. Tiring though it seem, but that was quite an experience. There is no telling that the use of information technology is growing exponentially, so that in the Philippines this so-called “fourth medium” is easily getting more common with young people. The youth of today who are referred to as the “net generation” finds this interactive medium more appealing and interesting than the broadcast media which contents are designed by the “all-knowing” program producers who seem to be the only ones who know what is best for these young people—in much the same fashion as the “learned” classroom professor giving a one-way lecture to “ignorant” students. In the interactive media, the young people themselves design what they think is good for them or, at least, they are given participative role in cooking up their own future. In no time, this phenomenon is going to influence not only the mainstream media, but even our educational system.
During his latest visit to Catbalogan, the Commander of the AFP Visayas Central Command, Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot, raised the issue about the crime of giving support to the enemy, the communist rebels who allegedly exhort revolutionary taxes from the populace. He is definitely right in saying that “there is no such thing as ‘revolutionary taxes’ because there is no revolution.” He is right, too, in exhorting voters to junk candidates who support insurgents. This is easily said than done. In Dolores, for instance, a couple of years ago politicians were rumoured to have paid “access fees” to the NPA before entering rebel-controlled barangays for their political campaigns. If this were true, and I think it was, then the whole battalion of the Philippine Army in Dolores then was not in a position to render a comfortable security. But today who would believe mere words of assurances from the military when even the hoards of supporters of the infamous Oakwood mutiny in Makati are still dancing their way around. If such were the order of things that people in the barrios are still paying revolutionary taxes, then must they be feeling more secure with the rebels than with the military and police who always go on top the national budget?
Mayor Hector Ong of Laoang has reportedly rejected the blank-check offer of Panapino Mining Corporation to cover occupational fees in order to commence the extraction of bauxite from Batag Island. This is heroism, pure and simple. Would that all the mayors of Samar will be as conscientious as the good mayor of Laoang. I was informed lately that majority of the mayors of the three provinces of Samar are moving along the same direction. Some are in fact pursuing moves to locally legislate a ban on all mining operations for 50 or so years. This indeed is a happy development. Then Samar island will remain beautifully intact for the next generations who will be reaping the fruits of socio-economic development in a flourishing bio-diversified environment. Our political leaders, especially our congressmen, have openly supported the SINP proclamation. This support will even be more crystallized once our representatives will continue to work for a congressional legislation. In the meantime, we are convey our sincerest appreciation for all those who are working proactively to preserve our natural resources, which, at the end of the day, will ultimately become the bedrock of a sustainable development for Samarenos.
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