Issue of November 16, 2014

Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
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Special region a more reasonable option

With the shift in focus for a special region, the drive for autonomy is a dead duck in the water.

In Rep. Ronald Cosalan’s estimate, there is simply not much time left to approve the autonomy bill in Congress. Second, it is not a priority bill in the same standing as the Bangsa Moro bill or the bill for economic change authored by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

The proposed special region, he said, shapes up as a more reasonable, more realistic and more workable alternative to the current set-up.

All that is a needed is an executive order by President Aquino himself; no consultation, no plebiscite.

Cosalan said the National Economic Development Authority is expected to come up with the draft and from there it will be submitted to PNoy for his signature.

He said he was expecting the EO to incorporate features of the proposed autonomy bill such as those that concern the exploitation of natural resources as well as the matter of taxes arising from the operation of mining companies and from other sources of income.

He said the proposed set-up has the approval of majority of this region’s congressmen and it was generally looked up with approval during a meeting convened by the Regional Development Council in Manila.

The solon indicated that the pursuit of autonomy still remains but that for want of time and effort, it should remain an objective whose time has yet to come.

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The cold months are upon us every which way you go in the sky land. But the shift in climate has not dampened if any the overall landscape if we are to judge by the headlines.

The headlines in fact tell us as that while the 2016 elections are roughly 18 months away, the circus that has become both a bane and boon of Philippine society has just been heating up.

As always the facilitators are the mass media themselves, notably the Manila-based broadsheets and TV outfits, who thrive mainly on conflict as the be-all and end-all of news.

To them, every conflict story especially when it involves a vice-president or police czar is maximized to the hilt; all else is not good copy unless it involves a corporate-sponsored basketball team or a boxing match starring Manny Pacquiao himself. So what if politics is written all over the script that is feed staple-like to Filipinos day in and day out?

Who cares about climate change? Who cares about the continuing assault on the country’s remaining forests and forest reserve? Who cares about taxpayers’ money being squandered needlessly on defective equipment or non-functional machines?

True, the people deserve to know if Vice President Jejomar Binay really owns so much land and property but the Senate probe if probe it is has been taking so long it borders more in aid of further confusion than in aid of legislation. Cannot a special team of law enforcement investigators do the job faster and better than a group of legislators out to hog the headlines?

Maybe this is part of what is wrong with us as a people.

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In his lifetime, Louie L’Amour has written about 400 short stories and over 80 books mostly on the American Old West. Here’s what he has to say:

“Writing is a profession one never completely masters. There’s always something to learn. You’re never there; you’re never trying to be there. You never know enough, and you’re never good enough. You can always say things a little bit better, and you always find ways to do things better. It’s very difficult; sometimes you stand in the desert or in the mountains, or some places like that, and you look across the country and you say, “How would I put this into words?” It seems like an almost impossible task to try and to capture what’s out there and try to make other people see what you see. And that is really the whole thing about writing.”

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