Commentary: Time to set aside dirty politics

By: Rodrigo S. Victoria

Naval, Biliran (21 February) – Unconscionable mudslingings, unpalatable character assassinations and other forms of degrading dirty political tricks always abound everytime the country is in the period of elections.
The Filipino voters are already tired of the usual political machinations and maneuverings with the use of titillating intrigues and unfounded accusations ought to destroy the good standing, unbelmished reputation and highly regarded dignity of persons seeking a public office. Continue reading “Commentary: Time to set aside dirty politics”

Commentary: The fading luster of Filipino unity behind Pacquiao’s victory

Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (5 December) – The resounding victory of Manny”Pacman” Pacquiao is still fresh in the memory of every Filipinos. We can still vividly recall how members of every Filipino households were held captive in their respective houses just to watch the much awaited rumble of two of the world’s prized fighter in the superfeatherweight division. Traffic jams were out of sight, crime incidence was at zero rate and most notably, the Filipino people’s disunity and disagreement in almost every issues that greatly affect society were put to rest and were beholden by the elusive yet still achievable vision of oneness and unity.
I can still remember how one jubilant Filipino fan being interviewed after the fight in a national television station expressed his wishful yet full of hope statement for the Filipino people to be united at all for the good and welfare of the country. Continue reading “Commentary: The fading luster of Filipino unity behind Pacquiao’s victory”

In defense of the provincial NSO officer

 by Prof. Rolando O. Borrinaga
Hometown Naval Website

Information reaching us has it the provincial officer of the National Statistics Office (NSO) was recently called up to report to the governor’s office. There she was allegedly subjected to some scolding related to some negative official statistics for Biliran Province.

We have here another case of an official trying to harass the messenger for an unfavorable message.

In this regard, I would like to remind the governor that one of the reasons the province is getting some internationally-funded projects is its independently verifiable poverty statistics.

Before I considered myself officially tabooed from the Capitol grounds last year, my usual hangout was the Provincial Planning and Development Office. Like it or not, it is here that the earth-shaking projects for the province are conceptualized and formulated into proposals that would only need the signatures of the higher-ups. The PPDO atmosphere is so quiet and laid back it is easy to suspect nothing is cooking in there.

But I was always aware that it has an important nerve-center role. In contrast, I liken the movement of people in and around the governor’s office to the movement of ants on a bowl of sugar. The best thing they can do is bite, sometimes each other. Continue reading “In defense of the provincial NSO officer”


By: Navaleño
September 15, 2006 9:10 pm

          The savage, brutal and senseless killing of Atty. Danilo M. Parilla in the early morning on September 7, 2006 in Cebu City is like a Ninoy Aquino’s death in the making.
            I was on my way home from school on August 21, 1983 when the news broke out that Ninoy was shot at the tarmac. Even in my tender age, a first year high school at that, I felt I’ve lost a dear friend, a father and at most hope for the youth and the rest of the Filipino people to see a different landscape of the archipelago warped by the   Marcos dictatorial and tyrannical regime.
            The times following the savage, brutal and senseless death of Ninoy opened an avenue for change. The Filipino people have found a social catalyst for change in Ninoy’s death. The famous People Power I in EDSA came and the rest of events unfolding the very eyes of the Filipino people and the rest of the world show the solidarity and unity of the Filipino people in search for a better Philippines.
            The murder of former Biliran governor whose government service was never tainted with a single case involving misappropriating or misspending a single centavo of people’s money is a very sad moment to Navaleños and Biliranons.
            It is very crystal clear of how much Navaleños and Biliranons as well cherished the untimely death of a person whose philosophy in life is anchored on a saying which he shared with me that “you cannot put a good man down”, by the multitude of people that accorded him a warmth welcome during the arrival of his dead body at Naval port on September 10.
            It can be seen from the faces of the welcoming people, the sign of anguish and agony for having lost a true public servant who is willing to defend and die for the cause of the greater majority and an honest public official who is ready to sacrifice his life in the quest for social justice.
            If Ninoy’s death served as an inspiration for the Filipino people to fight the dark days of Marcos rule, perhaps Danny Parilla’s death will also served as a strong motivation for the Navaleños and Biliranons to expose and put a stop to the hidden and yet flourishing robbery of people’s money by a political clan masquerading as savior of Biliran.
            A brewing social volcano is just waiting the right time to erupt kept stagnant for long years by the good actors and actresses allied to the political clan in the political scene of Biliran province who help aided them in wantonly robbing the people’s money.
            Well for over a decade of rule of this political clan here, they claimed that economic prosperity thrived but their claim does not reflect the true and current economic status of the province as reported in one of the issues of  the Phil Daily Inquirer that Biliran province still  belongs to the poorest of the poor provinces in the country today.
            Maybe their claim is true when we have to closely look at their newly acquired wealth courtesy of their political unity and oneness in robbing the people’s money intended to benefit the greater majority of the Biliranon.
            I hope that Navaleños and the Biliranons in general will learn a lesson left by Ninoy before his death when he said that “the Filipinos are worth dying for”.
            If Ninoy’s death has served as an inspiration to attain change in the country why not take Danny Parilla’s death as an inspiration to attain a real and true change that Navaleños and Biliranons are longing for to achieve under the stewardship of a truly honest and sincere public servant.
            Can Susan Velasquez Parilla, the widow of Atty. Danilo Parilla can also do what Cory Aquino made?
At the very least, the door is very much open wide in welcoming Danny’s better half to continue the footprints of good and honest public service left by Atty. Danilo Mangco Parilla.

Commentary : Public servant as a whistle-blower: reflections

First posted 00:50am (Mla time) May 01, 2006
By Ruben M. Manatad

Editor’s Note : Published on page A15 of the May 1, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

One has to grapple with one’s conscience and with the
dangers and uncertainties he or she must face for such
a decision. That is why a number of
whistle-blowers eventually succumbed to pressures,
threats and material enticements thrown at them to
“persuade” them to retract. Indeed, some
whistle-blowers have been blown to kingdom come and
silenced forever.

Public servants, as “insiders,” can minimize (at
least) the incidence of irregularities in government.
It may be the spirit of altruism-the desire to make a
difference in the lives of others-that impels some of
them to become whistle-blowers and defy the dangers
and the fears that come with their self-imposed
calling. It is just so tragic that most of us choose
to remain deaf and blind to the shenanigans in our
midst, thus allowing graft and corruption to
flourish right within the bureaucracy.

Corruption in government is reflective of the moral
decadence in our society. But it is not only
corruption in government that is keeping
our nation stuck in the doghouse.

Our culture has also been corrupted. We seem to have
lost the long-held Filipino values of hiya,
delicadeza, utang na loob and palabra de honor. We
have allowed our positive cultural traits to be
smothered by insatiable greed. We now put on high
pedestals people with wealth and power, no matter how
they may have acquired them.

It is imperative for us to bring ourselves out of the
doghouse and back to higher ground, and to recover our
sense of integrity, righteousness, uprightness,
decency, honesty, patriotism and nationalism, as well
as our taste for simple living and commitment to
genuine public service. We should extol sincerity and
thumb down dishonesty and opportunism. It would be
good for us to inculcate in our hearts and minds these
words of President Manuel L. Quezon: “Poverty with
honor is preferable to wealth with dishonor.”

Indeed, moral fortitude manifests itself in a simple
and honest life. Og Mandino has this advice: “Learn to
live with honest poverty, if you must, and turn to
more important matters, than transporting gold to your
grave.” The Holy Book also teaches that “An honorable
person acts honestly and stands firm for what is
right.” (Isaiah 32:8)

While promoting a culture of integrity in the public
service, we must develop a culture of excellence in
the work place. We must seek to rise above our
weaknesses-institutional or personal-and vigorously
aim for greatness. The primary consideration should be
love of country, honest and efficient service to the
people, not loyalty or gratitude to the appointing

This means putting up systems that encourage teamwork,
creativity and critical thinking; professionalism,
merit system, leadership and
accountability; dynamic, progressive and inspiring
leadership; free _expression and active participation
in the processes of decision-making. People in
government need to be empowered, too.

At the same time, it is vital for the citizens of a
democratic country to assume a greater role in
changing or reforming society.And any change should
reflect the sovereign will.

The sovereign will may be expressed not only during
elections but also in charting policies for better
governance, greater transparency and greater
accountability. This only underscores the
fact that it is a people’s inherent right to decide
their own fate. Our experience has shown us that
surrendering this right to our elected leaders has
been a debacle, as politicians would rather
protect their own interests first and foremost even
before they represent the people’s.

For us in the bureaucracy, this dark hour of our
country’s existence is a defining moment. Shall we
stand firm by our sacred oath to genuinely serve our
people under the doctrine that public office is
a public trust? Can we muster the courage to denounce

Or would we rather submit to a sense of powerlessness
and remain indifferent, and thus turn our backs on our
obligation to bequeath to our children and the future
generations of Filipinos a better
Philippines and a brighter future?

To remain numb to our people’s anguish in the midst of
corruption is to conspire with the evil forces that
are eating up our national body and soul. This is an
act of betrayal-a betrayal of our people. And
therefore, unforgivable.

Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for evil to
triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Ruben M. Manatad is the Provincial Manager of the NFA Biliran, Resident Ombudsman of the NFA Region VIII and one of those who exposed the “Rice to Sawdust” switching anomaly of the Bureau of Custom confiscated smuggled rice that was transferred to NFA Leyte on June 2002.

107th Philippine Indepence Day Speech

By: Ruben M. Manatad-Provincial Manager, NFA Biliran
Guest Speaker-Biliran Independence Day Commemoration
June 12, 2005-Naval, Biliran

107th years ago today, on June 12, 1898, the Philippine flag was hoisted signaling the end of 400 years Spanish colonial rule in the country, with little help from the Americans. But on February 4, 1899, the United States on the excuse that Filipino soldiers fired at American soldiers at the San Juan Bridge, engaged the Philippines in a war. Actually, it was the American soldier named Willie Grayson who fired shots at four Filipinos crossing the bridge. This led to a 15-year war of the US against Filipino freedom fighters.
Continue reading “107th Philippine Indepence Day Speech”