July 17, 2024

On June 12, the Philippines celebrated its Independence Day.
More than a century ago, through blood, sweat and tears, Filipinos, led by the likes of national heroes Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and others, broke free from the clutches of imperial Spain. Mabuhay!
However, this near-sighted Ibaloy writer asks: Is the Philippines truly free when the vast majority of its citizens are still shackled by poverty and most of its “honorable” leaders continue to be members of political dynasties?
Is our beautiful country truly free when many Filipinos would rather go work and live abroad and take their families with them, if given the chance and opportunity?
Is the Philippines truly free when we have no choice but to pathetically depend on other countries like the United States to defend what is ours from bullies like China?
Is our country truly free when in many cases, it seems that “who-you-know (kapit)” plays a greater role than “what-you-know (merit)”, when it comes to being hired and promoted at the workplace. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Lest I be misconstrued, these questions come from a proud Pinoy, an indigenous person, being an Ibaloy, in fact, who genuinely loves his country. I was born, raised and fully intend to die here (if possibly, in Baguio, home of my Ibaloy forefathers).
So it honestly pains me to have to ask these painful questions. After all these years, why is our beloved Philippines still lagging behind its Asian neighbors? And instead of progressing, why does it seem to be deteriorating? Is this worth celebrating? Again, I could be wrong. Happy Independence Day!

Meanwhile, Mayor Benjamin Magalong ratified two city council measures granting favorable review of eight barangay budgets for this year pursuant to pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended.
Resolution 330, s. 2024, grants favorable review to the budgets of Teodora Alonzo, Honeymoon-Holy Ghost, Guisad Central, Ferdinand and Rizal Monument barangays while Resolution 338, s. 2024, does the same to the budgets of Brookside, Pucsusan, and General Emilio F. Aguinaldo-Lower QM barangays.
The mayor also signed Resolution 336, s. granting favorable review to the Sangguniang Kabataan budget of Loakan Proper barangay for this year.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.