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August 1 - 7 , 2015

Are we better off today than we were in 1960?
By ANTONIO M. REYES

Since we started the Southern Leyte Times Website, we have been swamped with requests from our readers here and abroad, about Southern Leyte’s future. They want to know if we are better off now than
we were when we became a province 55 years ago.

In response to these inquiries I will be writing a report based mainly on my essays which were published in my weekly column “As I See It.”

It explains my thoughts on where Southern Leyte is today, how it got there, and what our local and national agencies are doing about it.

It will attempt to answer such questions as:

• Are we still following the goals our founding fathers authored 55 years ago?

• Are we more food self-sufficient today than we were then?

• What is the status of our coconut and abaca industries?

• Do we have better irrigation systems now than before?

• Are our rain and mangrove forests as lush and abundant as they were
in 1960?

• Have we developed any new industries since 1960?

• Are our children healthier and better educated than they were then?

• Has our peace and order situation improved?

• What is the condition of our watersheds?

• Have we improved our basic infrastructures?

• Is our government bureaucracy more efficient now than before?

These are some of the question I will try to answer in the forthcoming issues of the Southern Leyte Times. As the only representative of the Philippine Press Institute in the province, it’s incumbent on us to inform the public, if we are (indeed) better off today than we were in 1960. And
if we are not, can we still do something about it, or have we reached the point of no return?

Meanwhile, let’s stop blaming our politicians for our lack of progress, for they are the mirror of ourselves. And unless we change, they won’t either. For we are, as the British poet Henning said in his poem Invictus: “The Master of Our Faith, and the Captain of our Ship!”

Are we all moving towards the same direction, or should we start sending SOS signals to “Save our Ship?”

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

 

What to do with China?
Atty. Jess G. Dureza

I talked on the phone last Saturday with Zambales Governor Hermogenes “Jun” Ebdane who was a colleague in the Arroyo Cabinet. He has set up a high-tech coastal watch monitoring system in his province, in cooperation with a Canadian firm, to spot foreign vessels intruding into his provincial territorial limits. . This is clearly aimed at China which has started shooing away Zambales fishermen from the Panatag or Scarborough shoals, around only 230 kilometers from Masinloc town.

What the Philippine government intends to do if China indeed intrudes into our claimed territorial waters, I have no idea as yet.

The way things are shaping up and if things are not properly handled, our country is on a collision course with China in our territorial dispute.

I remember having a chat sometime ago with the previous Chinese lady Ambassador Ma. She was stressing a more effective way of settling issues among neighbors, the Asian way. Although we need to go to an international body like the United Nations to seek redress on a multilateral basis, we ought to have opened up also a parallel, back channel route on a bilateral basis. President Ramos again called for “back-channel” direct contacts. Why this was not done up to now, I still cannot understand.

Fact is, we cannot go to war with other countries, much more with China.

Lest we all forget: we all have Chinese blood in our veins. And yes, sorry to say, we are no match to China militarily.

Atty. Jesus “Jess” Dureza served in various capacities under the Ramos and Arroyo administration, including the post of Press Secretary and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. He is the current Chairman of the Philippine Press Institute.






 

 

 

   

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