Issue of August 23, 2015
Mt. Province

Courier Anniversary Issue
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Ninoy remembered

In the few times I stumbled into the National Press Club in the 1990s with Arnold Azurin and Abraham Belena (who once edited this paper’s Iloko edition), one of the favorite topics was Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino II (1932-1982).

And why not? Ninoy was once upon a time a card-bearing reporter, having covered part of the Korean War at the age of 17 for the Manila Times.

If it is any consolation, I submitted my first news and feature contributions to BMC when I was 16 to no less than Atty. Sinai Hamada himself or to Atty. Gabriel Pawid Keith, but that greatly pales in comparison to what a 17-year old was doing on the Korean front as a war correspondent at that!

Yet his greater talents were not in the newsroom considering the ease and facility with which he shifted to politics.

Consider also his phenomenal rise as 22-year old mayor of Tarlac to Tarlac governor at 29, and at 34 the youngest elected senator this country ever had, and from there on a collision course with history.

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There is considerable outrage over the death of Pamana (heritage), a Philippine eagle released into the wilds of Davao Oriental by the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

When recovered, Pamana’s body showed a gunshot wound on her right chest. Now a monetary reward is out for whoever can pinpoint her killer.

In 1994, I wrote an account of the recovery of a four-month old eaglet in the Arakan forest of North Cotabato by a Manobo elder named Romeo Empong.

At a loss on what to feed it, he tried fish. Next, he offered it fruits. Both to no avail. Somebody offered boiled pork and was rebuffed. “Ah, a Muslim,” cried the Samaritan.

The bird must have suffered from indigestion before it was eventually retrieved by the PEF.

The PEF told me the bird was strictly carnivorous and will not survive without raw meat.

The bird is billed the “flagship of conservation” and is likened to the miner’s canary in that it is looked upon as a barometer of how healthy the environment is – its extinction a sign that other living species, including man, are also endangered.

From a high of 11,000 when the Philippines had ample forest cover, it has dwindled to only 82 in 1994 and it is only the PEF’s efforts that is preventing the bird from disappearing into oblivion.

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From Loreto Buyaan, the spokesperson of the Benguet Federation of Farmers comes this piece:

“In behalf of the farmers of Benguet, we wish to express our heartfelt condolence to the family of late Department of Agriculture regional director Marlyn V. Sta. Catalina for her untimely demise and who was eventually buried in her hometown in Daet, Camarines Sur.

We are grateful to her for the many assistance, projects, and initiatives she provided the farmers of Benguet during her watch as regional director. May God bless us all.”

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