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We were great onceAntonio M. Reyes
By ANTONIO M. REYES

Whenever I feel depressed because of the scandals and miscues of our politicians and bureaucrats, I try to recall a time when we were the envy of our ASIAN neighbors for our political maturity and economic prudence.

Among my favorites is the 1950s when the Boholano poet and chess master Carlos P. Garcia was our president. These were heady days when our peso was valued at 2 to 1 to the US dollar and we owed no money to foreign and local financial institutions because we lived within our means.

We were then the second most economically developed country in Asia, second only to Japan, and was considered the most politically advanced nation in the region.

At the forefront of this golden era was Southern Leyte (which though not yet a province at the time) was known worldwide as the top producer of “Manila Hemp” an extremely strong fiber the world’s maritime industry relied on could not exist without.

The town of Malitbog was the center of our Abaca industry at the time and buyers from Europe, Asia, and the Americas would come here to buy the fiber for their shipping and construction needs. Artificial fibers would eventually lessen demand for Abaca and as a result many farmers stopped growing them. However it’s alternative use which include the world’s currencies still make it a profitable venture.

If we could strengthen our Fiber Industry Development Authority, I believe there is still hope for this industry.

We were also one of the country’s largest producers of coconuts but due to benign neglect and insect infestations our production has been reduced by 50 percent. This is unfortunate because coconut milk is now considered an anti-aging drink and price for the commodity has skyrocketed worldwide.

There was also a time during the Spanish Era when we were known for our gold craftsmanship. I only learned about this from the on-flight Mabuhay Magazine of the Philippine Airlines which even showed photos of the beautifully crafted golden jewelry we used to produce.

These are difficult times, but based on our past achievements, we can wither it if we re-instill and practice the time tested virtues of hard work, prudence, self-reliance, honesty and love of country.

Antonio M. Reyes is the publisher and editor of the Southern Leyte Times the largest circulating newspaper & website in Southern Leyte.

Madmen in media

This column has always been appreciative of the role of the media in molding public opinion and shaping community development. Its role as crystallizer and equalizer cannot be disregarded. Practitioners are however cautioned between freedom and abuse, liberty and license.

Responsiveness and responsibility are always equated with restraint and respect for the rights of others. It goes without saying that factuality and truth are not synonymous with fiction and invention, fabrication or exaggeration.

This is why freedom of speech or press is regulated by laws on libel, damage to reputation and others. Mere slip or lapse can be disastrous sometimes irreparable and beyond mending.That’s why we are always reminded to check facts and the veracity of reports not conjectures or “asumptio non probata” or worse malicious lies designed to malign.

The screaming headlines recently on print, radio-TV and social media with the most venerable Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu reportedly asking President Pnoy to step down or resign only to be denied by Cardinal Vidal was a boner to fuel coup rumors spread by unlamented has-been’s. It is unimaginable how evil spares no one just to foment some dark agenda.

Ajaw pakoryente, masunog ka! In this hi-tech era, we salute the social media for its efficient interconnectivity and effective communication reach never before achieved. And the generations gloat and glee over it. But again irresponsibility and recklessness may have marred social media image. Posts on sick children and debilitated adults, the elderly and disabled definitely have no place in any media.

So many reputations and so much sensitivity have been destroyed in the name of abuse and licentiousness under the guise of freedom. And how the social media became the instruments of hate and bad taste by countless posts on mangled and mutilated bodies from the Mamasapano massacre. The pain and wounds of grieving families had to be rubbed with salt by insensitive social “madmen” in media kuno!

February 27, a Friday, this year and those to come, will always be a special day for Southern Leyteños despite not being a declared holiday. We commemorate the day in remembrance of the death anniversary of the late Sen. Ruperto K. Kangleon.

Gov. Roger Mercado has issued Executive Order 005,series of 2015, proclaiming February 27 of every year thereafter as Ruperto K. Kangleon Heritage Day in the province to honor a war hero and exemplary public servant as guerilla commander, the first and only So. Leyteño Defense Secretary and Philippine Senator.

The initiators and prime movers try to make every commemoration relevant and meaningful, from RKK’s enshrinement in a monument at Macrohon to the transfer of his memorabilia from St. Joseph College to the Maasin City College where it will be housed permanently in MCC’s lifetime, thanks to the very accommodating city leadership and school administration of Mayor Maloney, Vice Mayor Effie and the MCC board of management.

This year on Friday, a very unique celebration of RKK’s 57th death anniversary brings Southern Leyte to a higher level of historico-cultural development. To provide more meaning and significance to the Executive Order of Gov. Roger Mercado declaring February 27 as Ruperto K. Kangleon Heritage Day in the province, the EO enjoins all LGU’s to support a fitting commemoration of a genuine war icon and exemplary public official.

To cap it all, an original biographical play with songs and dances on RKK’s heroism will be the featured highlight at 7:00 pm, Maasin City Gym, free admission to all. Writer-director Irvin Paul Valenzona and the SLSU Tomas Oppus cultural group will bring to the stage for the first time the colorful life, love, courage and patriotism of Ruperto K. Kangleon. Everybody is invited and enjoy a rare milestone in Southern Leyte arts and culture in “Love of Country, The Ruperto K. Kangleon Story”.






 

 

 

   

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