As our Saint Louis University Boys High School (SLUBHS) Class ’68 Golden Reunion is approaching this January 26-28, 2018 in Baguio City, my mind is surging with many recollections that I find myself smiling with the thoughts even as I am typing this story.
When I read a story about Digong’s TRAIN (Tax reform acceleration and inclusion) the Beatles’ song Taxman of the early 70’s run thru my head:
“Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman …”
New year supposedly means fresh start and newly gained energy for most of us but for the women human rights defenders who continue to suffer unabated attacks from state security forces, the year started with escalated stress and anxiety. There is no greater suffering than to start a year facing continuous threats to your life and security and be treated like criminals when all you do is exhaust your energy to serve the under-served and work for a truly free and democratic society.
January 9 is the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Year after year devotees from various places and from all walks of life flock to Quiapo Church to join in the celebration. They say this is their panata (vow) before God for the miraculous healing and other blessings they received. Since God answered their prayers and gave them what they wanted, they ought to fulfill their panata (vow) not only to thank God but in order to receive more blessings from God.
With the growing demand among Filipinos to own a car, vehicles on the streets and public thoroughfares are invading without respect for the pedestrians’ rightful space or road right of way. Nowadays, as the vehicle population grows almost uncontrollable, our managers and supervisors in the seat of government (aside from looking at the funds that vehicle sales and traffic fines generate) must also remember something has to be done to balance the use (everyday), safety and respect of legit or proper space for both pedestrians and vehicles.
“Bakit sa Africa kayo pupunta (Why do you have to go to Africa)?” My mother was so concerned. “Nakakatakot doon (It is scary out there).” She was so apprehensive and adamant to give her blessings when we broke the news to her that my wife and I will be going overseas to work in Zambia, Africa and we would be shuttling our four children, ages 8, 6, 4, and 3 along with us. “And why do you have to go abroad when we (with your dad), could help you with your daily needs?” This was in late 1981 in Baguio City.
Most of my life was spent with the local press and even if the members of the local press were so superlatively drunk and opinionated, they are the members of my community. This is except for those who claim to be press but are paid hacks and intel stooges.
Year 2018 has come! Whenever another year comes, we always consider it a new year. And so, we greet each other, “Happy New Year!” But as we end one year after another it seems that the word new remains an unfulfilled dream. Things remain the same or even worse. The lives of ordinary people are not getting better, despite claims to the contrary. Prices of basic commodities are going up, while the value of human life is going down.
One of the events I am looking forward to early this 2018 is our Golden Jubilee Reunion of Saint Louis University Boys’ High School (SLUBHS) Reunion this coming January 26-28 in Baguio City, Philippines.
“Not one single NPA (New People’s Army) unit in Mindanao was wiped out”, announced the Joaquin Jacinto, the spokesperson of National DEmocratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Mindanao in his message to the 49th Anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
It does not hurt to dream and look forward to the new year with high hopes but it does when we have to mourn the loss of a loved one or a friend. My late mother’s youngest sister, Rebecca or Ebek has decided to go last Friday evening, and it broke my heart because I knew very well I already missed her very much that angst may last a lifetime.
Every December 31, our country commemorates the death anniversary of a Filipino martyr, Dr. Jose Rizal, who was mercilessly executed for courageously exposing and opposing with his pen the barbaric powers of the Spanish crown. His blood and those of other Filipino martyrs who came before and after him had nourished our struggles for genuine freedom and independence.