Job Fair at Kabinnulig Festival

For the past three years, a job fair is held during the Kabinnulig Festival. In fact, it has become a major event in the annual celebration of Flora’s founding anniversary.

     Although there were few job applicants this year compared to the considerable number of people who joined during the past two events as observed by job fair coordinator Mira Cascayan of the Assessor’s office, there is a need to keep this as one of the main attractions of the festival. Read Here…

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Vol. 1 Issue 5, May 2016

Going with the flow of not just with the in-thing of the times but also to widen our scope of circulation, we have just opened our website through free blogging via This is to be able to provide interne
t-savvy Floranians the venue for them to be updated with the current events and issues confronting their beloved Flora wherever they are especially those who are over the seas.Read Here …..



Bracing for a close contest

Vol. 1 Issue 4, April 2016

As Digong Duterte continues to surge ahead based on poll surveys in the run-up to the May 9 political theCATALYST-FINALexercise, the presidential derby gears toward a neck-and-neck battle.

Previous results have shown that Grace Poe and Jejomar Binay were charging ahead. Administration candidate Mar Roxas continues to struggle in the surveys while Miriam Defensor-Santiago remains at the bottom — almost a “salinpusa” (excuse the word).

Surveys, of course, do not necessarily reflect the true results of an election but these can influence voters’ decision when they cast their vote. So it is important for candidates to make good in the campaigns. It is importan for every aspirant to present the kind of issues he/she will tell to the voting public. They must concentrate on genuine issues and offer better solutions to basic problems in the community instead of attacking each other.

Election surveys are public perception about what they know or heard of regarding a particular candidate.

In this political contest, Duterte’s call on ending criminality and graft and corruption by hook or by crook might be the big factor in coming out atop the leader board in the surveys because this strong message connotes political will, the political willpower that we all have been searching for from a leader.

Binay, Santiago or even Poe, have strong convictions also in becoming the president. Roxas might have the Daang Matuwid as a startup but not quite. Philippine elections as ever is based on popularity contest. The bailiwick factor can always affect the count. Binay has solid support from the north. Duterte will have an expected landslide in Mindanao. Santiago, Roxas and Poe will partake the Visayas areas.

Vice presidential bet Bong Bong Marcos is also getting big shares lately in the surveys. Counting the “solid north and Ilocoslovakia votes” already on his side, a win for the former dictator’s son could prove that the Marcos loyalists are still a force to reckon with. Had any of the other opponents face him in a one-on-one, he could have been easily booted out. While all of them are brimming with hopes and confidence that they can garner enough votes by attacking his father’s infamous dictatorial regime, this could be Marcos strength in the campaigns. This is because he continues to have the opportunity to defend himself and his family and he defend it with bravado. Why should he be blamed for the blame of anyone, so he says.

Robredo, the only rose among the thorns and the only member of the House of Representatives running against seasoned senators, presents an image of transparency and good governance just like what Chiz Escudero, Alan  Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes and Gringo Honasan talk about themselves. As decision time closes in let us maintain peace and order because it is the most sensible thing to do. In the meantime, let us not jump the gun until the last vote has been counted.

The national fight

Vol. 1 Issue 3, March 2016

Like most of us, I am still contemplating whom to vote for the top two posts of the land.

Rooting for the country’s next president as well as thetheCATALYST-FINAL vice president is crucial because we are all looking for leaders that can dramatically fix the huge problems in our society — rising unemployment, continuing poverty in the country sides, decent housing for millions of people in squalid conditions in the cities, combating the drug menace and criminality. The list is long — graft and corruption in government, low wages in the labor sector, low growth in the agricultural sector, unending bickering in the political front. Political bigwigs fighting like children over a lost candy (Nag-aaway na parang bata dahil naubusan ng kendi).

Following are some tidbits  and anecdotes or personal encounters with the national candidates that can influence me when I cast my vote on May 9.

MAR ROXAS. I was working overseas in Vietnam when a colleague in the national media asked me to join the team of reporters that was managing the campaign for Mar Roxas when he ran for vice president in 2010. In fact, I have supplied some information regarding rice importation from Vietnam that was used by the group during the campaign period. Eventually the same group have recommended me to join a similar group that was managing Noynoy’s campaign which was headed by now Secretary Sonny Coloma. This I agreed immediately. But issues came up with my Vietnamese employer because they could not allow me to leave until after the expiration of my contract.

Korina Sanchez said her husband lives simple and is not corrupt. By the way she went campaigning in Luna, Apayao on Feb. 5 for her husband. She rode with Sec. Proceso Alcala via helicopter from Tuguegarao. I just hope campaign materials used there did not come from the government but from Korina’s pockets and paid gasoline for the chopper.

JEJOMAR BINAY. I was president of the Cagayan Valley Students Association at the University of the East Manila in 1983 and our Adviser then was a brilliant human rights lawyer named Jejomar Binay, whom I have saved one day from being arrested by campus security guards after he finished delivering his message to student activists. Binay was briefing us about the impending comeback of Ninoy. It was then the height of the fight to oust the Marcos dictatorship. Years later in 1990, I had the chance to interview Binay when he was already the Mayor of Makati regarding the shooting of Maureen Holtman. I was the first reporter to talk to Maureen’s father whom at that time was an initial suspect and told some of my interviews to Binay.

GREGORIO HONASAN. In 1978, then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile who was campaigning for a seat into the Batasang Pambansa showed up at a proclamation rally in the town of Abulug. After he acknowledged all the candidates present, he called up on stage army officer Gringo Honasan to introduce as his camp de aide. Up close and ignorant, I was enjoying the speeches and all the promises  The next time I heard of Gringo was when he stormed Malacanang during the height of the EDSA People Power uprising.

MIRIAM SANTIAGO. I have met the lady Senator several times in a joint Senate-House committee hearings when I was a legislative staff in Philippine Congress and admired her demeanor and toughness as a constitutionalist. Her present health condition is an utmost consideration for me.

BONG BONG MARCOS. My memory is not short. As a student activist in the pre and post martial law, I had done my part in the dismantling of the dictatorship. Never again.

I had accidentally entered Bong Bong’s secured office by passing through a narrow steel stairway when he was the Governor of Ilocos Norte and I was offering his secretary a set of encyclopedia and he was sitting on his swivel chair and eyes straight to mine as I was focused on my selling ability.

I have never talked personally with the other candidates such as Trillianes, Robredo, Escudero, Cayetano, Poe and Duterte.

All I can remember is that on the advice of my boss then Rep. Joel Virador (Bayan Muna Party List) who is from Davao, I drafted a resolution that was calling for a House investigation about the Davao Death Squad (DDS) which was allegedly linked to Mayor DIGONG DUTERTE

Sometimes, we take our voting preference through personal attachments or encounters with the candidates. But should it be enough for us to pick them?

I will throw my full support to Senate aspirant NERI COLMENARES whom I had the chance to work with in Bayan Muna Party List. We were then part of a working group that draw plans in many of the big rallies in the struggle for genuine changes in our society as well as spent time socializing with him after the same rallies. He was our guitarist and good at it.

A  brave human rights lawyer, Neri Colmenares had authored bills that can uplift the plight of the basic masses such as the deferred Social Security pension plan and many others.

Another Senatorial bet whom I had made close contact with is FRANCIS PANGILINAN during our college days. Kiko was then the student council president at UP and they were holding an exhibit at the College of Arts and Science ground.  We were invited to join the exhibit though our group was the only organization among the campus groups there that included academic society and fraternity of UP. Kiko liked to sit with us in our booth particularly because of the items we displayed in our booth such as pamphlets, books by progressive writers that included Claro M. |Recto et al, native products from Mindanao like tubao, malong, etc. Our group, the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace, was then the biggest and most active justice and peace advocate during the 1980s. The funny thing about those one-week encounter with Kiko was that he would always saying that one day he would be marrying Sharon Cuneta, which at that time was the most popular celebrity along with love team Gabby Concepcion.

Kiko was so madly in-loved with Sharon, who was then visiting at the exhibit and promote their first movie with Gabby Concepcion whom she had a brief marriage. It was this time that Kiko and Sharon met for the first time. So when I learned about their eventual wedding years later, I was so ecstatic about it. Call it a miracle or destiny.

In this coming election, we are not looking for a miracle to come in the fast resolution of our country’s problems but we should make sure that we put the right person to lead our nation.

For me, I’d rather not vote for a president or any candidate that cannot qualify the criteria I have set. I have never voted a president or a vice president ever since I registered as a qualified voter. For the Senate, I have voted just once in the 1987 political exercise and at least two of the six I have voted have won and have not failed my expectations. That confidence I have entrusted on a particular candidate is always the deciding factor for me to cast him/her in the ballot. This is a personal opinion as always and I won’t ask you to do the same because we all have our own criteria to choose whom we vote.

We should vote wisely as they say. We should vote according to our conscience. We must, of course, vote to exercise our right. We need a leader who can deliver swiftly the reforms we need in our political and economic well-being. A leader who understands fully the real problems of the basic masses — the housemaids, the overseas workers, the farmers, fishermen, laborers, factory workers, teachers, government rank and file employees, vendors, carpenters, sari-sari store owners, taxi drivers, jeepney drivers bus drivers, even the soldiers and policemen and all working men and women in our society.

     But we have to do also our part in shaping a peaceful nation.

     Just being a good citizen is all it takes to achieve that goal.

Man of others

Vol. 1 Issue No. 2 January-February 2016 page 2

He was a PEOPLE PERSON. Two words that can best describe a father, a leader, a builder, a tough politician, a farmer, an educator by his own right and many other attributes he had left behind that can be emulated by anyone.

     By his own standards, generosity is a virtue. He is well-known as a regular churchgoer. Uncle Ardo or Tang Ardo or Lakay Ardo or even Apo Ardo lived by all these good traits.

His biography is almost synonymous to the history of Flora, a once virgin forest which became the center of timber cutting operations in the 1940s to 1970s. Read Here….