Killing Bebot Momay

The hill crawls with people—police investigators in gloves and berets, City Hall clerks clutching handkerchiefs to mouths, blank-eyed soldiers with belts of ammunition slung over their chests. The photojournalists stand in the distance, higher up in the hillside, sunglasses and long lenses shooting sparks under the high sun. Everywhere there are clumps of reporters, the local press, most of whom are crouched over bodies. This one, says a sunburned boy with a press ID. He lifts a banana leaf. This is Henry.
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Sep 29, 2012 under People, Politics | no comment

Where they fell

They call it ground zero. The road into Bayug is unpaved, weaving past a clutch of houses, 10, maybe 15 of them. The wooden walls are fresh and unpainted. Most are unfinished. Piles of wet wood sit under lines of laundry. To the east is Madulog River, to the left is the sea.

Before Dec. 17, 2011, over a thousand people lived in Bayug, a slice of land on the outskirts of Iligan. This is where fathers from the city once brought children for Sunday swims, and fishermen’s homes sat elbow-to-elbow steps away from the seacoast.
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Sep 22, 2012 under People | no comment

The good mayor

My name is Jesse Robredo. I was born in Naga and grew up in the city. I was working in Manila, in San Miguel Corp. I had my master’s in business administration at the University of the Philippines already. The career path that I was looking at was succeeding in a private company, then making a niche as a senior executive later on. What compelled me to join Edsa 1 was the assassination of Ninoy. I told myself, if this can be done in the Philippines to a prominent person, then something is wrong with this country. Maybe it’s high time that I became part of the group that will advocate change in the country. After Marcos’ death, I was invited to work in the government, so I did.
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Aug 25, 2012 under People | no comment

August 7

I came from the city of Bacolod. I looked at the situation and I knew no matter what I dreamed of becoming, it didn’t matter. My parents were poor, and even if I wanted to study we couldn’t afford it.

My dream was to become a driver, because I thought it would be a better life than what I could get as a laborer on minimum wage. I thought it would be the only dream I could attain.

My first job was as a houseboy until my boss decided to put me through driving school. I learned how to drive, and I studied hard. I was a driver at a garments factory when I met my wife. She was a supervisor. That was when we fell in love. Even if you say she wasn’t beautiful, for me, she was beautiful, and she was kind. She took care of people. That was all.
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Aug 19, 2012 under People | no comment

Danilo Suarez’s courage

House Minority leader Danilo Suarez recently announced his withdrawal of support for the Reproductive Health bill, along with several members of the chamber’s minority. Suarez said the six other members who joined his turnabout had previously supported House Bill 4244 only because of loyalty to the then minority leader, Edcel Lagman, its author and chief advocate. Suarez and Lagman had been engaged in a fight for the minority leadership, one that ended with Lagman’s resignation last January.
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Aug 5, 2012 under Health, Opinions, People | no comment

The good, true and just

The story ends with the fall of the tyrant. It is the way most stories should end, especially stories whose narratives are spun as battles between good and evil. The anointed king takes up arms, his steward raises the banner, and the knights of the realm troop to fill the ranks of the brave and the just. The holy war begins, sunlight shoots off steel, blood is drawn, and the mad wizard and his red queen are forced to bow before the combined might of the righteous.
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Jun 2, 2012 under People | no comment

After Gani

This is not the column I was planning to write today. I did not plan to write anything at all, was going to play hooky from responsible almost-adulthood and spend the day in bed passed out under the covers. I have learned, in the most painful way possible, that it is better to get hammered for irresponsibility than be awake at 3 in the morning on a Sunday agonizing over a grammatical error left on the second sentence of the ninth paragraph of a published column pumped out by panic, smoke and high levels of caffeine.
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Mar 3, 2012 under Opinions, People | 3 comments