Issue of April 12, 2009
     
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Autonomy drive? No money no honey

The initial news that a helicopter carrying an advance party for the President disappeared while on the way to Banaue brought back memories of 2007.

In April of 2007 we were in Bontoc for the Lang-ay festival. It was also the campaign season so we went there to meet up with Gov. Chavit Singson who was then running for senator.

From Bontoc, Chavit flew in a helicopter towards Lagawe for another campaign sortie. On the way, his helicopter fell and crashed somewhere near the Mountain Province-Ifugao boundary. Luckily all passengers survived.

The advance party of GMA left Baguio and was bound for Banaue when it went missing. It is also Lang-ay season. Unfortunately it has turned out to be more tragic than the Chavit incident.

We hope there is no jinx here somewhere.

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It is said that the ongoing campaign by some government agencies for a renewed call for Cordillera autonomy suffered a setback because the P15 million which was earmarked for them to spend has not been made available. If the campaign is really an honest-to-goodness campaign from the heart, do they need money to run it?

Those of us in the civilian sector are often appalled by the fact that government officials cannot seem to move unless there is money to move them.

How can we make a believable push for autonomy and self-reliance when from the beginning we are dependent on the national government for the money to work for our so-called “autonomy”? Can we not campaign for autonomy by asserting autonomy from the very start?

Or is the autonomy drive merely a budget generating exercise? It cannot move if it does not see the color of money?

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We always thought that muggings, petty robbery, and holdups were common in the city. We have heard of many such incidents. We also gathered the impression that not too many of them have been solved. Which may be the reason why victims lose interest or do not even bother to go to the police where they say one would only be given the cold-shoulder treatment. There is a perceived indifference or lack of enthusiasm from the authorities when it comes to incidents like that.

What are they interested in? Jueteng? But even that they cannot stop unless GMA is in town.

Recently 18-year-old nursing student Tam Tibaldo was mugged, robbed and stabbed inside a jeepney somewhere near the top of Session Road. But the case was quickly dismissed by police and city authorities as an “isolated incident.” Really?

If that was an “isolated incident” then that must mean that Baguio is a safe and secure place where one can walk and freely wander around in peace without fear of pickpockets, muggers, and unsavory elements. Are we talking about the same city or are they referring to another Baguio?

Or have some authorities been away from the city too many times that they have lost touch? When the police can finally solve the crime and find the culprit that would be the rare and isolated case.

We always tell our children to be careful in taking public transport or in walking the streets of Baguio especially at night. That is because we fear some untoward incident might happen to them. We often see violent incidents shown even on local television.

It appears that our apprehensions may have been misplaced. If we are to believe the authorities, the incidents we fear are “isolated cases.” Do you believe the authorities?

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