Sunday, March 30, 2014

Free summer leadership camp set April 6

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff Reporter

For the first time in Ilocos Norte history, hundreds of potential youth leaders from the entire province will converge in one place for a summer leadership camp set on April 6 at the Dungon-dungon estate in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.

Hosted by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, the five-day Sirib leadership camp consists of an intensive workshop and hands-on training of leadership skills and basic parliamentary procedures among others.

“After the interactive workshop, we hope that participants will be able to appreciate more the province of Ilocos Norte and lead fellow youth in the barangay, town or school they are in,” said June Arvin C. Gudoy, Communication and Media Office (CMO) head.

On April 6-7, the first batch of participants composed of 100 student-leaders will undergo training for trainors and the second batch which will immediately follow on April 8-10 will be participated by about 500 students coming from the different schools, towns and barangays here.

Top caliber resource speakers will be coming from Metro Manila and Ilocos Norte.

Interested participants may inquire at the CMO or the Sirib Express Youth Affairs at the Provincial Capitol building for interview and screening or check the Sirib Express fan page in Facebook for details.

LC urges dental clinics to secure mayor’s permit

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff Reporter

Laoag City treasurer Ma. Elena Asuncion is urging all dental clinics operating in Laoag to secure their mayor’s permit.

Asuncion explained that the city government will not tax them in the practice of their profession but if they are operating a clinic, they should secure a mayor’s permit to operate.

In view of this, Asuncion said they will again issue a second notice to the owners of dental clinics here for them to secure mayor’s permit.

Asuncion disclosed that even during the time of former city treasurer Erlinda Ragasa, only 14 dentists complied while the others resisted.

Laoag City General Hospital chief of hospital Dr. Francis Dacuycuy, for his part also believes that not all members of the medical society who have private clinics in the city fully understand the limitations of the professional tax receipt (PTR) in the conduct of their clinics.

Dacuycuy suggested that there must be a conference between the medical society and the treasurer’s office so that there will no longer be resistance in paying their obligations to the city government. He added that all the other professions who has their own clinics and offices should also be included.

Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas meanwhile promised to stand by what the law says.

Another city government official, Dr. Melvin Manuel mentioned that dental clinics in Manila are securing their mayor’s permits to operate. He added that Manila law offices also get their mayor’s permit.

Manuel then stressed that his clinic also secures a mayor’s permit from the city government religiously.

Adding his voice to the issue, city administrator Perry Martinez said that all businesses that operate under the jurisdiction of a local government unit should secure a mayor’s permit.

Martinez also emphasized that they are not singling out dentists and doctors as the call is for all professionals maintaining offices and clinics in Laoag.

Meanwhile, Asuncion announced that her office will also issue letters to other professionals maintaining offices and clinics in the city such as engineers, doctors and lawyers.

Asuncion reiterated that they will not be taxed on the practice of their professions because they are covered by the income tax law of the BIR and only the operation of the clinic would be taxed.

The city licensing division record shows that only two dental clinics have processed their mayor’s permit as of March 21, 2014. 

‘Kurikong’ attacks Ilocos mangoes

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff Reporter

Mango production in some areas of Ilocos Norte may fall from the expected yield this harvest season as a pest called cecid fly or “kurikong” in the vernacular has been attacking mango farms here.

Agriculturist Edwin Cariño, Millennium Development Goals program head of the Ilocos Norte government reported on March 19 that several mango growers have already noticed a decline in their production due to these flies, infesting mango farms across the country.

Earlier this year, mango growers in Pangasinan reported that up to 40 percent of the 460-hectare mango plantations covering 21 towns here have been attacked by cecid flies, also known as “buti” or “armalite” in Luzon.

Apparently, the infestation has already spread in the southern towns of Ilocos Norte such as in Badoc, Pinili, Currimao and Batac City, according to Cariño.

Experts from the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City said an adult mango cecid fly resembles a mosquito and commonly lays its eggs on young mango leaves. The larvae, which develop from eggs, mine the leaves producing dark green circular galls or swelling of tissues along the leaf blade. When the adults emerged from these galls, the leaves produce circular spots of holes, which are sometimes mistaken as fungal infection. Under heavy infestations, the leaves wrinkle and become yellow.

The infestation, however, affects the fruits more. When hit early, young mango fruits fall off from the tree. Fruits that remain produce circular brown scab-like spots, which are randomly distributed on the fruit’s surface. Infested fruits retain these scabby lesions till they are up for harvest, thus affecting their quality and commanding a lower market price. 

In view of this, the provincial government has invited Dr. Celia Medina, a mango expert from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños to conduct a cross-farm visitation to mango farms affected with cecid fly on March 24-25, along with mango stakeholders in the province.  On the next day, a mango stakeholders forum will be held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall, attended by a hundred mango growers and associations including researchers from the MMSU and technical staff of the provincial agriculture office.

The whole-day forum will tackle how to control this pest and develop a holistic approach to prevent its spread to other Ilocos farms.

According to Cariño, it is for the first time that this pest attacked Ilocos mango farms.

To date, the control of mango cecid fly is a subject of a research being carried out by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) under its proposed National Mango Research and Development Program.

In 2012, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte and the Department of Agriculture (DA) poured in more than P8 million for the immediate rehabilitation of at least 25,000 mango fruit-bearing trees in the province after a reported decline of mango production attributed mainly to unpredictable weather conditions caused by climate change.

ReVisioning Maharlika

(First of a series)

“MAHARLIKA”……A word, an image, a concept, a symbol, an archetype…..How deep can a word reach? How can a word transcend and transform our consciousness? How can a word be usurped and degraded? How can a word redeem itself? How can a word re-create the destiny of a nation? How can a word guide us into the past, present and the future?”
Grace Odal-Devora, Ph.D
University of the Philippines, Manila

Last month, Ms. Romelene Pacis and I got invited to present at the plenary of the 1st Maharlika Summit held at the Asian Center Auditorium, GT-Toyota Hall of Wisdom, University of the Philippines, Diliman. 

The organizers, the UP Diliman Alumni, Friends and Benefactors of the Asian Center or AFBAC Inc., the Humanistic Studies 20 Class of Professor Grace Odal-Devora of the University of the Philippines, the UP Manila Alamat Society and the Katipunan ng Samahang Maharlika contacted us to do an analysis and share our perspectives on the future of the Maharlika discourse.

The summit was themed ‘ReVisioning Maharlika’ as a cultural metaphor, folk history and social movement for socio-cultural identity, transformation and development. Within a neutral academic setting, the goal was to study the Maharlika discourse from varying vantage points and to form the beginnings of an applied, action and policy ‘Maharlikan studies’ and research.

Here, I would like to share some of the most remarkable insights the speakers had at the summit.  To write this article, I had to rely on Romelene’s notes and some recorded videos and presentations available on Facebook and the

Fe Buenaventura Mangahas, commissioner at the National Historical Commission, former Sen. Eddie Ilarde, Prof. Grace Odal Devora of the University of the Philippines Manila, Hari Shri, a Sri-Lankan scholar and expert on Dravidian history in the Philippines, Prof. Ric Vil Hori, Professor Eyle Frayne Argonza, and UP student Angelica Montalbo joined Romelene at the plenary. 

I would like to start with the morphological and the historical discourses on Maharlika.

Mahardikka: Rich, Prosperous and Powerful

Maharlika, as repeatedly define, explained and illustrated in the summit, came from the Sanskrit derivatives Maha meaning good and great (such as Mahatma – great soul) and Lika, a contracted and altered form of the word Likha meaning ‘creation’ and ‘work’. The word is deeply grounded within the Dravidian and Austronesian ancestral traditions and heritage and resonates significantly with the context and meaning of the Malay psyche, worldview or self-perception.

According to Dennis Teves, a friend and alumni at the Asian Institute of Management, Mahar+R+La+Ik+A means a small entity containing good and great qualities and resources in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres. The A in MaharlikA puts in it the feminine gender. And as Professor Frayne Argonza puts it, Maharlika, it being a Sanskrit word, possesses a mantric significance that conveys diverse meanings across different cultures.

In various Indo-Malayan languages, Mahardhikka, Merdeka, Maradeka, Mardika, Maradika means independence or freedom and it meant “rich, prosperous and powerful.” The word was used by anti-colonialists and pro-independence movements in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Mahadhikka, in their struggle against colonialism, meant self-rule, liberation or “freedom once and for all” from the Dutch, the British and the Portuguese colonialists.

The Malay Merdeka and Maharlika according to Prof. Grace Odal Devora of UP Manila has the same Sanskrit origins. Needless to say, a significant number of words in Samtoy or Sao Mi Daytoy (Ilocano today) and Bahasa meaning “our language here” are recognizably Sanskrit in origin. Professor Juan R. Francisco, who spent several years studying Sanksrit in Madras University, discovered that there are more than 300 words in our languages that are traceable to Sanskrit. In the Samtoy language alone, the words dara, baru, mangan, makan has the same meaning in Bahasa. The word Visayas came from the Sanskrit word Vijaya meaning victorious.

Maharlika today is extremely popular among Filipino Muslims, Maguindanoans, Maranaos, Lumads and some indigenous groups and ethnic communities. In fact, in the not so distant past, the late President Ferdinand Marcos popularized and was influential in making the word somewhat fashionable in the 1970s. 

(To be continued)

Laoag City carjacking cases rise

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff Reporter

CARJACKING incidents in the city are rising.

This is based on police records where it show that there has been nine carjacking incidents as of March 19, 2014.

This was also confirmed by Laoag City police officer-in-charge P/Supt. Jeffrey Gorospe as he reported that there had been two carjacking incidents each in January and February, and five as of March 19.

In the police reports, the incidents involved motorcycles with the latest even occurring on the parking area at the back of the Provincial Capitol and at the side of the Laoag City Hall, wherein both cases happened in the morning.

Gorospe added that if the motorcycle cannot be jacked, perpetrators settle for motorcycle parts.

To help stop these incidents, Gorospe held a meeting with all barangay tanod chiefs in the city to discuss the rise in carjacking incidents in the city. He urged the barangay security forces to be more vigilant to stop these crimes.

Gorospe also appealed to the city’s vehicle owners to ensure that they lock their vehicles before leaving them. He added that if they can put double locks on them, it would be better.

Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas for her part asked Civil Security Unit chief retired Col. Florentino Dumlao who was in charge of security on the area where a motorcycle was jacked. According to Dumlao, a traffic enforcer was detailed in the area but the enforcer was out of the area when the crime happened and there was no security camera in the area.

Meanwhile, Gorospe also mentioned that the city police is also stepping up operations against theft, illegal drugs, physical injuries, attempted rape and other illicit activities in the city.

The police OIC said they have arrested five persons with standing warrants of arrest: one for robbery, three for grave threats, and one for frustrated homicide.

DOST-SEI releases scholarship exam result for AY 2014-2015

By April Rose Ragmac

The department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) released the result of September 2013 DOST Scholarship Exam for Academic Year 2014-2015 last March 04, 2014.

Out of 35,562 graduating high school students who took the examination, 182 passers came from Region I: 37 from Ilocos Norte; 35 from Ilocos Sur; 27 from La Union; and 83from Pangasinan.

DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said the Department’s scholarship programs will provide the new awardees access to quality education in leading public and private institutions as it targets to substantially increase the number of scientists and engineers needed to boost economic productivity and knowledge creation in the country.
Specifically, the passers of 2014 DOST Scholarship exam will have the following privileges: tuition and other school fees (P8,000/sem for RA7687 and Merit), book allowance of P5,000 per year, PE uniform allowance of P500 for the first semester of the year, transportation allowance and monthly stipends.

The complete list of the S&T Scholarship Examination passers for Region 1 can be downloaded from or at

Legarda wants monthly safety drills in schools, hospitals

File photo of an earthquake dril at INNHS
Senator Loren Legarda reiterated her proposal to conduct monthly fire and earthquake drills and other disaster preparedness measures in educational and healthcare institutions.

Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the call following the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake drill spearheaded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on March 19 in selected schools in every region.

“When an earthquake occurs and a fire ensues, would our kids know what to do and where to go? Would the teachers and school staff know how to keep the children calm and guide them to safety? They would not know unless they undergo safety drills like the earthquake drill conducted by the NDRRMC. What I am proposing is to do these drills every month in educational and medical establishments, such as hospitals and schools,” she said.

“The regular conduct of fire and earthquake drills would effectively instill disaster preparedness in our citizens. Schools and health facilities, aside from being shelter for the vulnerable—children, sick and elderly, are critical public infrastructures, especially in times of disaster when victims need emergency refuge, services and medical care. Therefore, schools and hospitals should be disaster-resilient,” Legarda stressed.

The senator’s proposal has been filed as Senate Bill No. 357, or the Preparedness in Buildings during Fire, Earthquake and other Hazardous Phenomena Act.

Under the measure, monthly drills should be done in schools and other educational establishments, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, orphanages and other buildings or structures used for the care of or occupied by the sick, infirm, or disabled.

The bill also proposes the conduct of emergency drills in school buses and other vehicles for transporting school children at least twice every school year.

The drills should include practice and instruction concerning the location, use and operation of emergency exits, fire escapes, doors and fire extinguishers and other facilities provided for such purpose in buildings as well as the proper evacuation of buildings by persons in the event of fires, earthquakes and other hazardous phenomena.

“We must enhance our resiliency to disasters by preparing the citizenry, particularly school children and the occupants of health care institutions, their administrators, operators, and personnel on the proper response and actions to take in cases of fires, earthquakes and other hazardous phenomena. We have to do this so that our people know what to do in times of disasters and to reduce the risks on their lives, limb and properties,” said Legarda.

Legarda also said that aside from the conduct of safety drills in schools and hospitals, the government and building owners must also ensure the structural integrity of these buildings.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fire drill at Laoag City Hall

PREPARING CITY HALL. In line with the Fire Prevention Month as well as the recent strong tremor that rocked the province recently, the Laoag City government conducted a fire and earthquake drill on March 21. (Doms dela Cruz)

Editorial Cartoon

‘Bigti na, friend!’

Each time I lectured in that classroom, I would stare at an empty chair, asking myself if there was something I could have done to save a life.

He was a freshman engineering student from a small town. His classmates said they never noticed anything wrong with him. His parents likewise observed no unusual behavior exhibited by their only child. Everything seemed normal and usual with this boy’s life until he was seen hanging on a nylon rope fastened on a wooden beam.

As a teacher, it was my first encounter with suicide by a student. And it was not to be the last.

By all indicators, suicide cases are on the rise in the Philippines. According to the National Statistics Office, the suicide rate from 1984 to 2005 went up by 1,522% among men (from 0.46 to seven out of every 200,000); and up by 833% among women (from 0.24 to two for every 200,000).

Noticeably, there is an increasing trend of suicide among the youth, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24. Most of them kill themselves by strangulation. Other means are suffocation, poisoning, and exposure to chemicals and noxious substances. The common causes are depression, love problems, academics, low income, unemployment, and medical conditions.

It is easy to blame suicide victims for being weak. Others may even criticize them for being selfish—thinking only of themselves, and not of those they will leave behind. But what really runs in the mind of a person determined to take his life?

I have some idea, for I too seriously had thoughts of ending my life when I was a teenager. It was the end of my third year in college, and I was at the height of popularity in school. That semester, I was sent to international competitions, became the most awarded student leader, and was recognized as one of the top students. Everyone was so proud of me. People shook my hand to congratulate me for my achievements. I was, to many, a model student.

But something terrible happened, suddenly. I received a failing grade in one of my major subjects. It was unexpected and I was sure I did not deserve it. The professor claimed absolute right to manipulate how grades were to be computed. It was very clear to me that it was unfair.

My world crumbled. Because of the failing mark, I was sure that I would lose my scholarship, and would miss my chance to graduate with honors. Word about my failure spread quickly around the campus, and those who were just congratulating me a few days back began looking at me with pity, if not ridicule. I was up in the clouds one moment, and down to a very dark space the next.

Night and day, I locked up in my room, stared at the ceiling, deeply convinced that life was no longer worth living. I tried to justify suicide with philosophical musings. I also thought of the professor who gave me a failing grade, and imagined how guilty he would feel about my death.

Decided to commit suicide after five days of isolation, I went to Binondo to buy the most toxic substance I could ingest (a powerful pesticide whose mere vapor could make my lungs collapse). Before going home, I dropped by a Chinese restaurant for a last meal. When I arrived at the dorm, I lay down in bed again, stared blankly at the ceiling, and imagined my impending death one last time.

My suicide plan did not materialize, and, obviously, I have lived to tell this story. Three things kept the poison bottle unopened: thoughts of my family, the graphic images of hell on my mind, but what really saved me was a persistent knock on my door by my door mate on the next door. He sensed that something was wrong, and urged me to talk about it. He convinced me not to push through with my plan.

In the next days, I decided to pick up the pieces and live with courage. I filed an appeal for my scholarship, and, after a long process, San Beda (which was apparently more compassionate than Kristel Tejada's UP) decided not to revoke it. As it turned out, there was no explicit rule that barred those who had failing grades from receiving academic awards. And so I graduated with honors, although they had to change the rules after I graduated, making me the school’s one and only honor graduate with a 5.0 on his transcript.

A few years after graduation, I visited my alma mater and accidentally crossed paths with my professor—that professor who led me to the brink of suicide. He said he was impressed with one of my articles published in a national newspaper, and that he required his students to read my work. He said he heard that I was offered a job in Malacañang, and that he was proud of me. This picture of my professor smiling at me and tapping my shoulder in a show of approval was the exact opposite of what I imagined on my could-have-been death bed: a professor crying in guilt in front of my coffin.

Of course, not only young people commit suicide. Military generals. Politicians. Politician’s wives. Actors. Models. Teachers. Lawyers. Farmers. We hear of them claiming their lives, and the worse part is that we are getting used to it, or, at least, have become insensitive to the suffering of others. Suicide may be a very personal thing and one could even strongly argue that society must respect an individual's choice to end his life. But what about those who only need a listening ear and some words of hope to make them realize, the way I realized then, that life can still be beautiful?

In social networking sites, the expressions “bigti na” (#bigtina) has become popular. It is offered as an advice, though made in jest, to people who have problems. There are several Facebook “Bigti na” pages, followed by tens of thousands, created for those who are romantically problematic. Thousands of “Magpakamatay ka na lang” memes have also been going around the web.

It is appalling that, to this date, there seems to be an absence of a government-sponsored program to avert suicide cases in our country which surprisingly has, according to the World Health Organization, the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia. But it is more appalling that a growing number of our people are making fun of a phenomenon that has caused unspeakable pain to many. Amidst mindless laughter, we might be missing out on the soft voices of suffering around us. Or we might be pushing to total silence those who desperately need to be heard.

Bigti na, friend? That joke is neither friendly nor funny.

IN receives top rice producer award

ILOCOS Norte Gov. Imee R. Marcos receives the trophy and check worth P4 million from Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala and National Rice Program Coordinator and acting Usec. For Field Operations Dante S. Delima on March 14 in Pasay City. Also in the photo are (from left) provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay, Delima, Marcos, and Alcala. (Photo Courtesy of PGIN-OPAG)

By Jennifer T. Pambid

THE ILOCOS Norte government, represented by Gov. Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos received the trophy and a check worth P4 million from Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala and National Rice Program Coordinator and acting Usec. for Field  Operations Dante S. Delima on March 14 at the Resorts World Manila as one of the top 12 Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers in the country for its commitment in attaining high rice self-sufficiency.

This is the second time, Ilocos Norte was recognized as a top rice producer in the award launched on 2011 by the Department of Agriculture. T

The Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Awards aims to encourage the full support and participation of local government units (LGUs), irrigators’ associations (IAs), small water impounding systems associations (SWISAs) and agricultural extension workers (AEWs) and to recognize their efforts and contribution in prioritizing rice-related projects, using quality seeds and appropriate technologies for attaining high rice sufficiency in the Philippines.

Laoag City and the municipality of Vintar are also included in the list of Top 48 Rice Producing Cities and Municipalities and were awarded P1 million-worth check each.

“Behind the outstanding performance of the province are outstanding personalities,” provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay said, referring to 12 Ilocanos included in the list of National Outstanding Extension Workers in the Philippines who received P20,000 each.

Among the AEW awardees are Lagmay, provincial rice coordinator Dr. Lus Tabora, Laoag City agriculturist Oscar Recta, Josephine Aljon of Laoag City, Generosa Blas of Vintar, Ofelia Agbayani of Vintar, Menchie Tolentino and Celestina Rivera of Bacarra, Merilyn Gappi of Batac, Manama Ganon of Batac, San Nicolas Municipal Agriculture Officer Norma Calamayan and Rachel Aguilar.

Lagmay disclosed that the P4 million will be used to purchase hybrid seeds and fertilizers to sustain the province’s rice production and gradually cut the province’s dependence on rice importation.

Although 1.65% lower than the yields on 2012 due to typhoon damages, the 286% rice sufficiency recorded in Ilocos Norte for 2013 surpassed the target production of the province by 183%.

Stressing the agricultural advantage of the province in boosting the provincial economy during her State of the Province Address (SOPA) on 2013, Ms. Marcos encourages every Ilocano especially the farmers to take part in achieving sustainable rice production as well as the overall transformational growth of Ilocos Norte.

Other winning provinces include Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Kalinga, Bulacan, Laguna, Bukidnon, Lanao Del Norte, North Cotabato and Mindoro Occidental.

Friday, March 28, 2014

LC lauds 2013 top taxpayers

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff Reporter

ACKNOWLEDGING their contribution to the city’s development, the Laoag City government lauded the top taxpayers for 2013.

The top taxpayers were lumped into two categories: businesses in the city and those at the Laoag City Commercial Complex.

Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas said the top taxpayers were named based on the amount of the taxes they paid as well as their promptness in paying their obligations.

The mayor stressed that there was no favoritism in the selection as it was based solely on the assessment of the City Treasury Office, which made the list from its computerized taxation system.

The top 10 business establishments are: SanFord Marketing Corporation (SaveMore), Expressions by Mart One, Fort Ilocandia Land Development Company LTD., Jollibee Foods Corporation (Bacarra Road), Jollibee Foods Corporation (Laoag Centro), McDonalds Laoag, Pepsi Cola, MongDing Construction Supply, The New Laoag Auto Supply and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

The mayor said these establishments paid millions in taxes.

The top 10 tax payers at the Laoag City Commercial Complex, meanwhile are: St. Williams Drug Corporation (Mercury Drug), Charito Caday Meat Dealer, Sumera Meat Shop, Maricel and Rebecca Meatshop, Alfenor’s Giftware, Reneliza Raquino Dress Chicken, Simeon Flores Sari-Sari Store, Rang-ay Bank, Agelita Ansagay Meat Vendor and the Tessie’s Store.

The business establishments were given a certificate of commendation by the city government during the last regular flag raising ceremony at City Hall

In a random interview with businessowners, they also expressed their gratitude to the city government for acknowledging them.

They added that it is their duty and responsibility to pay their yearly obligations as mandated by law in operating a business.

The mayor congratulated all the awardees and hopes that they will become role models to other business establishments operating in the city in paying their obligations promptly.

More than 4,000 students undergo PGIN’s free career counseling

Students of the Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades fill up a career planning questionnaire during the Career Counseling Roadshow spearheaded by the Ilocos Norte Public Employment Service Office in cooperation with Sirib Express and De La Salle University last March 7, 2014. (PGIN-CMO)
By Jennifer T. Pambid

With its aim to assist students in making crucial decisions for their careers, the free career counseling roadshow, spearheaded by the Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in cooperation with Sirib Express and De La Salle University (DLSU), has successfully catered to more than 4,000 high school students on March 7, 2014.

The program was held simultaneously in Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades, Ilocos Norte National High School, Sarrat National High School, Sta. Rosa National High School and Solsona National High School.

The students were given free materials discussing the necessary work values and skills as well as steps and factors of effective career planning that helped them evaluate their skills and interests and determine the appropriate careers for them in the future.

Facilitators headed by education supervisors Dr. John Addy Garcia and Dr. Jerome Ouano with 15 faculty members of the DLSU Manila Counseling and Educational Psychology Department received a positive response from the students who are very eager to seek advice on their future careers.

Keen in upholding the advocacy of career development, Garcia said their department supports different government agencies in promoting policies that provide the youth opportunities to bridge the gap between their education and career pursuits.

Dedicated to empowering the youth by ensuring them quality education, Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos said the program is a big help to the students as well as the whole province in achieving transformation and development in Ilocos Norte.

Ensuring the support of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) to the aspiring professionals, the governor encouraged the students to take up courses in line with the presently in-demand jobs such as manufacturing, agribusiness and services.

“Malaking tulong ito para sa atin, para sa probinsiya… para tuluy-tuloy ang inyong pag-aaral pagkatapos ang probinsiya ay tutulong para meron kayong on-the-job training, meron kayong summer and part-time job at tuluy-tuloy na ‘yan sa job placement thru PESO, thru DOLE, OWWA and POEA kung kinakailangan at pati na rin sa sari-saring job fair at iba’t-ibang opportunity sa probinsiya natin at sa ibang lugar,” Ms. Marcos said during the roadshow.

An aspiring business administration student, INCAT student Mark Auriel Balicoco said it was their first time to be given worthy advises concerning their future and finds the program “very important because it helped (them) a lot to know (their) careers in the near future before entering college.”

“The roadshow was very interactive and we were all very attentive because this is a very good opportunity for us students. We understood more about the process of career planning which is really an important step for our future. Alam po namin na nasa right track kami in reaching our ambitions in life,” Irish Denleigh Layaoen, an aspiring engineering student said.

Furthering the success of the program, PESO head Nicole Rudio said the PGIN is set to partner with DLSU in the near future to conduct another counseling training for the teachers and guidance counselors in Ilocos Norte to further educate more Ilocano students to “incorporate academics and values which is very important in getting a career and to bridge the mismatch between the academe and unemployment.”

The career counseling roadshow is part of the ‘Task Force Trabaho’ established by the governor on 2012 which aims to alleviate unemployment rate in Ilocos Norte and boost the provincial economy by providing more job opportunities to every Ilocano.

Same vision

Pope Francis is the best known Jesuit in the world today, He’s the first member of the Society of Jesus, organized by Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier and companions in 1542, to be elected pontiff. Francis has been invited to address the US Congress. And many Filipinos hope that when he visits South Korea this year, he’ll make a side trip here to meet Yolanda victims.

The news item, on a lesser known Jesuit appeared last week, below the fold in the inside-pages, of a few papers: Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang, of Shanghai, a leader of China's underground catholic community, died March 15. He was 96.

Fan served in prison after he and other priests were arrested in 1955 during a government crackdown. From 1958 to 1978, Fan was imprisoned in Qinghai province. Among other things, his work included carrying corpses to the cemetery, reported the Asian church news portal UCANews.

He refused to recognize the Chinese government-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association when it was established. Officially, China claims there are 23 million Christians about 11 million are Catholics. “The real number is somewhere between 60 to 130 million”, the Economist estimates.

An underground priest immediately said mass for Bishop Fan after he died. Shanghai refused permission that the funeral Mass be held at St Ignatius Cathedral. Instead, it allowed rites for Bishop Fan to be limited to an open courtyard at the funeral home

Chinese Catholics are divided between two communities. One group refuses to “render to Caesar the things that are God’s”’ and therefore, remained underground. The other is one that the Vatican accepted with some compromises to continue its existence. Both are faithful to the pope. Both face persecution from Chinese authorities, as have other Christian denominations.

“The more persecution, the more the church grows,” said Protestant Pastor Samuel Lamb in 1993. He died in 2013, age 88. His 20 years of jail and forced labor followed an earlier two-year sentence. Some 30,000 people attended his memorial service. Police constantly pressured Mr. Lamb to comply with official doctrine and register with the government. He always refused, as did Joseph Fan.

The latest US State Department report on religious freedom notes: “In China, religious affairs officials and security organs detained, arrested, or sentenced to prison a number of religious adherents for activities reportedly related to their religious beliefs and practice.

Government continued to strictly regulate the religious activities of Uighur Muslims. Authorities sentenced one Uighur Muslim to ten years in jail for selling “illegal religious material”. It  harassed or detained Catholic clergy not affiliated with the government “Catholic Patriotic Association,” including auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daquin; and indicted seven house church Christians accused of being members of a banned group, “the Shouters,” a charge they denied.

Progressively more repressive government actions and religious policies occurred in Tibetan areas, including intense official crackdowns at monasteries and nunneries .resulting in the loss of life, arbitrary detentions, and torture.

Tibetan monks, nuns, and laypersons increasingly sought to express despair and dissent by self-immolating, often at or near a monastery, usually resulting in death. There were reportedly 83 self-immolations in 2012.  

Born in 1918, Bishop Fan was baptized a Catholic in 1932, joined the Society of Jesus in 1938. Fan was named Shanghai bishop by John Paul II in 2000. But he was refused recognition by the Communist Party organization overseeing the church in China.

To worship openly in China, Catholics are required to join the official China Patriotic Catholic Association, which has five million members. Tensions repeatedly surface with Rome because the state-directed organization insists on naming bishops without Vatican approval.

Bishop Fan was arrested together with Bishop Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei of Shanghai and other priests in 1955. After his release in 1978, he taught at a high school in Qinghai. 

Security police arrested him again on numerous occasions, and ransacked his flat. In 1992, the accounts of the entire Shanghai underground church were closed down, along with many of the Bishop's personal accounts, including the bishopric. The Bishop of Qinghai ordained him Coadjutor Bishop of Shanghai on 27 February 1985, while the bishop was in jail.

When Bishop Fan was placed under house arrest, another priest, Aloysius Jin Luxian, was named as bishop. When Bishop Jin died, his intended successor was Thaddeus Ma Daqin, but he has not been seen since being taken into custody in 2012.

Filipinos know the Jesuits from the schools they’ve established, their missions in Mindanao and scientific work. Padre Faura is named after an astronomer who established the Manila Observatory. Miguel Selga, SJ, continues to be referred to for his work on Philippine climate changes. And the historian Horacio de la Costa became the first superior of the Society in the Philippines.

Jesuit critics abound. “According to ancient lore, the wind and the devil were walking together one day. Then, the devil suddenly disappeared into the Gesu which is the Jesuit church in Rome. The devil has not come out again. And the wind is still waiting outside.”

Agpada kadi ti Sarusar ken Agamang?

Ni Leonardo R. Agunoy

AGTAUD a kasla uong dagiti saludsod kadakami no agpada kadi ti sarusar ken agamang? Maysa a kabsatmi a mannurat iti Iloko (agdadamo) ti nagtaudan dayta a saludsod. Makapaisem  a saan dayta a bugas ti saludsod. Ngem, gapu ngata ta addatayon iti agdama a modernization, awan metten ti makitkita a sarusar wenno agamang dagiti pada a mannalon ditoy Kailokuan. Iti biangmi, napintas unay a sungbatan ken ilawlawag batay ti nanumo nga ammomi. Agduma ngamin ti masasao a bengngat (diction) ti tunggal lugar. Adda lugar kas koma ditoy Ilokos, sarusar  ti awagmi (rice granary) idinto nga agamang ti awagna iti sabali a lugar. Adda pay lugar ti Kailokuan a ti awagda iti sarusar, agamang; kamalig, kunada.

Mabalin a nasken a mailawlawag tapno sakbay a  malebganen dagitoy a balikas weno awag iti maysa a banag, agtalinaedto pay laeng nga adda ti pamalatpatan dagiti sumarsaruno a kaputoptan ni Ilokano.

Kas ti balikas a labba (idiay Cagayan ken Ilocos Sur?), ditoy Ilocos Norte, igao/bigao (winiwing basket). Dimi ammo no daydiay bigao, nagtaud iti bilao (iti Tagalog). Ania ketdin, aya, no agkurkurang ti dictionary a basaen wenno tao a mangilawlawag kadagiti balikas a makaunnat iti renren ti muging no dadduma?

Dictionary ti masapul. Bookstore ti pakagatangan kadagita. Adda pay dictionary a magatang?  Dimi ammo. Sapulen dagiti dictionary a kasapulan. Nagadawkami met kadagiti naiggamanmi a dictionary iti nadumaduma a balikas iti Iloko a dimi matarusan idi iti kayatda a sawen. Nakasursurokami met bassit. Nakasuratkami met bassit. Nagisurokami met bassit. Nakaadal met dagiti sinuruanmi iti sangkabassit.

Kalintegan ti agtunton; saan a pakadaksan. Kasla iti panangtunton iti puli a nagtaudan (genealogy) agingga  a  matuntonan amin a kabagian ken saan?  Dagiti masagang a balikas, saan a basta aramaten latta idan no dadduma. Nasken nga ammo no agkabsat, agkasingin, agkasinsin, agkapidua wenno pulos a di agkabagian iti tunggal maysa kadagitoy.

Ti nagan laengen iti pangiyarigan. Ti Elpidio?  Nagtaud iti balikas a Griego (Hope iti English). Namnama iti Iloko.

Ti nagan a Juan de la Cruz  (Spanish) nga isu ti pakabuklan ti balikas a Filipino/Pinoy. Apay nga Spanish ita ti maar-aramat (Juan de la Cruz) a pangdakamat ken ni Filipino/Pinoy?  Nagtaud ti puli ni Filipino/Pinoy manipud iti dara ti Espanol.

Kasla met laeng ti paggaayat a sida ni pada nga Ilokano – ti pinakbet (manipud iti balikas a pinakebbet) a naglalaok iti bunga ti tarong, okra, kamatis, kabatiti (silky gourd); pinitpit a bagas ti laya, digo ti bugguong (fish sauce) ken dadduma pay a ramenna (engridients). Naimas a sida a paggaayat unay ni pada nga Ilokano

Nagduyoskami met nga agsurat iti daniw. Pangradio ken pangpablaak. Ditoy a masapul ti nasedsed a balikas.Masapul nga ammo dagiti aramaten a tumutop a balikas (diction). Ti daniw ni ayat, masagsagang dagiti di pay naatur a daniw.

Padasen man a pagdasigen ti apges ken panaas. Ti pangarigan no nakumpay ti ramay. Agimbudo ti bibig: “apuonay nga apgesnan! Apuonay a panaasnan!”

Agpada ti kayat a sawen ti apges ken panaas. Agpada a mangiladawan iti rikna gapu iti  gubuay iti panakasugat.

Immunan a nagraira ken inarakop iti aginaldaw a pannakisarsarita iti panagaramat kadagiti Iloko-Spanish (maysa ditan ti panangsabali ti annuroten nga Iloko orthography). Ti c, kukua ti Spanish. Ti k, kukua ni Ilokano. Inrugi daydi Francisco Lopez  (Priar Priest) ti panagaramat iti letter k iti panagsurat iti Iloko (Lopez Syndrome?). Nagangayanna, ti balikas a caramba (Spanish), nagbalin metten nga Iloko-Spanish: karamba. Idi agangay, agarup maleblebgan  metten ti patarusna iti Iloko (ti caramba/karamba): malabi.

Simmaruno a nagraira ti Iloko-English/Iloklish. Daydiay teen-ager (iti English), tin-edier metten iti Iloklish. Agarup a maleblebgan metten ti patarusna (teen-ager/tin-edier) iti Iloko: agtutubo.

Dagiti agtutubo a kuna ti Nailian A Bannuar ti pagilian, Dr. Jose P. Rizal a THE YOUTH IS THE HOPE OF THE MOTHERLAND.

Dagiti agtutubo iti agdama ti namnama ti pagilian kasta met dagiti agnaed iti Kailokuan a pakaiyallatiwan ti timon iti pannakaiturong ti pagimbagan ti pagsasao nga Iloko. Ti tinawid a bukod a dila (native tongue), masapul a matagiben. Maipanakkel ta dayta ti mujon a pangtuntonan iti puli a nagtaudan. No agsaoka iti Iloko, ammoda a patnengka nga Ilokano. Pasaray Saluyot, kunada ken ni Ilokano. Uray mapuoran ti daga a nakaregregan ti bukel ti saluyot, agrusingto a nabaludbod. Naimas a sida ti bulong ti saluyot aglalo no maipakbet. Makapasalun-at pay. Paggaayat kano idi sidaen ni Cleofatra.

Our lifelong warfare

WITH Lent in our midst, we should be reminded of our duty to hone up our skills in spiritual warfare. We should not let this Lenten season pass without doing anything to improve ourselves in this particular department.

Christ already hinted this much when he said: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent bear it away.” (Mt 11,12)

We have to understand though that to be violent in this sense does not mean to be destructive but rather constructive, driven by love and the desire to be united with God and with the others in a way proper to us as children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves.

Our life here on earth cannot but be in some form of struggle. Aside from our innate urge to grow and develop that requires some effort, we also have to contend with enemies whose sole intent is precisely to bring us down, to divert us from our proper path toward holiness.

We are not simply ranged against natural difficulties, challenges and trials in life, but rather with very powerful and subtle nemeses. The natural enemies alone are already formidable. St. John describes them this way:

“For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 Jn 2,16) That’s why we can talk easily about envy, jealousy, vanity, lust, greed, sloth, etc.

For this type of enemies alone, we need an extensive spiritual pharmacopeia and moral regimen to cleanse us of their affliction. That’s why we are encouraged, especially during Lent, to intensify our fasting and abstinence, and other forms of mortification. We should not take this indication lightly. They are very necessary.

Yes, we need to pray a lot and grow in the different virtues so we can be strong, optimistic and cheerful, prudent and capable of handling these challenges. We have to learn how to deal with our weaknesses and the usual temptations that come from the flesh and the world.

But we still have enemies tougher than these. As St. Paul said, “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Eph 6,12)

This type of enemies affects us more deeply. They corrupt not only the body, but also our very spirit that is supposed to be our immediate and direct conduit with God. They bring our warfare from the arena of the natural to that of the spiritual and supernatural.

With these enemies, our intelligence and will, our thoughts and desires would then operate outside the context of God’s will. Our thoughts and desires would then be at the mercy of evil spirits that can only be handled properly if we also use spiritual and supernatural means, and not just some natural power.

When we fail to deliberately offer everything we think, say and do to God, as told to us in the gospel, then we open ourselves to the coming of another spirit that will offer us, at first, a lot of attraction and allurement, until we are so enslaved by it that it would be very difficult for us to detach ourselves from it.

That’s why today we have such phenomena as atheism, agnosticism, materialism, and other forms of ungodliness, with their corresponding manifestations, such as, the legalization of abortion, the spreading culture of death, all forms of corruption, etc.

This big and open hostility against God and also against our nature always starts in a small, unobtrusive way, cleverly spiced and glibly packaged to grab our attention. We have to be most wary of these little openings to sin by making our conscience more refined and sensitive, and by growing in the virtues.

We have to understand that at every point of our life is always a choice between God and ourselves, between God and the devil, between God and the world. We have to be humble enough to choose God always.

The humility involved here would lead us to feel the need to continue asking for the grace of God, since without him, we can accomplish nothing that would bring us to our eternal life.

The humility involved here would lead us also to trust in God, especially when we see our own weaknesses, mistakes, failures. With such trust, we simply begin and begin again in our struggles.