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Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Loleng Panlilio’s living room morphs into a “music hall’ for artists with rehab of her 116-year old Steinway Grand Piano. 17-year old Jeline Oliva, now training with Gilopez and Corazon Kabayao, amazes Loleng’s guests with her skill not only in violin but also in piano, playing tough pieces from memory despite four years of not having played on it. She’s preparing for live audition in Mannes in New York, with hope of bagging a scholarship--- another very gifted young Pinoy artist in great need of public and private support.



Loleng Arguelles, wearing a Valera gown, at her graduation recital at UST in 1946, accompanied by the 60-member PC Band.



Loleng Arguelles-Panlilio with 17-year old violinist/pianist, Jeline Oliva


T'is the Season of Grace and though it’s tough to feel good about many things e.g., the horrible traffic and the endless machinations of conscience-less  politicians---we look for ways to enjoy the blessings that come from the Lord and  thank Him for them.  As it’s only eleven days to Christmas, let’s set aside hard-hitting political fare and talk about things that lift up the spirit and lighten the heart.

For one, the annual Christmas Concert at the Manila Pen has become a beautiful tradition to look forward to. Last night's concert held under the splendid Malayan sunburst of National Artist Napoleon Abueva  was one of the best, with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of maestro Ruggero Barbieri and a whole slew of singers led by sopranos Camille Lopez Molina (looking every inch like a “Wagnerian mother”) and the slender Ena Maria Aldecoa, the Philippine Madrigal Singers and the UST Singers providing music to cheer up the spirit. Popular pop singer Lani Misalucha was billed as guest soloist, but at the last minute she fell ill and songstress Kuh Ledesma gamely filled in, showing that Kuh is still very much in shape.  But lo and behold, Misalucha shows up in the end, so it was a double treat for the delighted audience.   

And nothing to clinch the mood for the badly-wanting-to-feel Christmas crowd can beat George Frederic Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus in the second part of his immortal oratorio “Messiah.” Here the PPO blared trumpets and timpani, the oboes and bassoons, as the two choral groups boomed with “And He shall reign for ever and ever…King of Kings…Lord of Lords, for ever and ever, Hallelujah."  The audience rose to its feet---a tradition said to have started back in the mid-1800s, when King George II was so moved by this Chorus in its London debut that he rose to his feet and remained standing until its end.

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The second part of this feel-good blog is about how a Steinway grand piano has recast a living room into what I call the “Music Hall” that has helped various artists.  Back in 1946, Dolores “Loleng” Arguelles,  an Associate in Arts  major in piano who trained under Prof. Lolita Erras, made her recital  at UST, as her St. Scholastica's College was in shambles like many other schools. As it was right after the war, a piano had to be trucked from Brixton Hill, which was then the Forbes Park of Manila, to UST and back to Brixton Hill. There was no decent piano available anywhere else. 

It was a full grand Steinway piano owned by Loleng’s elder half-sister, Pacita Arguelles LaO, the mother of lovely four girls who would eventually be married to four famous men: Nena Manotoc, Pacing Manglapus, Techie Velasquez and Chita Lopez. That piano is presently with Tommy Manotoc, former husband of Imee Marcos.

Even right after the war, recitals, as they are also now, were big events and for her recital Loleng Arguelles wore a white gown with emerald stones by designer Ramon Valera, dean of designers then. Elegance was fitting and proper, for accompanying her was the 60-member Philippine Constabulary Band under the baton of the famous Capt. Antonino  Buenaventura, while her accompanying voice recitalist was Moitoni Equarras.

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Loleng Arguelles didn’t make a career of piano, and instead settled down to married life with a landed Pampangueno architect named Pablo Dayrit Panlilio and raised three girls and two boys.  But there’s the  story of another Steinway Grand which, as far as Loleng can remember, was acquired by her father,  Architect  Tomas Arguelles, way  before she was born;  a manufacturing date inside the piano reveals that it’s 116 years old. The piano sat in Loleng’s living room for years in a rather sorry state, until some months ago when  professional restorer Rey Lim brought the Steinway back to life.

Th repair of that second Steinway Grand was providential. One rainy evening at the end of last September, young classical violinist Joaquin Maria “Chino” Gutierrez and his distinguished accompanying pianist, Corazon Pineda Kabayao, needed to practice the night before Chino’s concert at Ayala Museum, but the grand piano that was being transported from across the city to the Museum got stuck in terrible traffic along EDSA in the heavy rain.  Only one thought entered our minds: could they rehearse with Loleng Panlilio’s newly repaired Steinway Grand?  

The lady of the house, now 94 years old but still every inch glamorous, spry and alert and oh so impeccably groomed, readily agreed and Chino and Corazon carried rehearsal late into the night. Everyone felt relieved. Loleng quietly sat across them, following every note.

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That was the start of the new lease on life of the 116-year old Steinway, and the conversion of Loleng Panlilio’s living room into what I nicknamed the “Music Hall.” Chino and Corazon recorded some numbers and soon the Kabayao Family Quintet, led by virtuoso Gilopez Kabayao, his pianist wife Corazon and their three violinist children (Sicilienne, Farida and Gilberto) rehearsed for their celebrated CCP Little Theater concert last Sept. 28. Singers of the Philippine Opera Company, led by its indefatigable doyenne, soprano Karla Gutierrez, later staged a mini-concert with Hiroshima-trained baritone Joseleo Logdat, Karla’s lovely “Opera Belles,” a couple of budding tenors and a nervous but very gifted 13-year old singer named Rein Pineda. Included in POC's stable is Loleng's own soprano granddaughter, lovely 17-year old Gabri Dolor Panlilio.

Last month  Loleng Panlilio invited UST-trained magna cum laude pianist Corazon Kabayao to play some of her favorite piano pieces---predictably all by Chopin. namely, Etude in A Flat Major, Op. 25, Prelude in D Minor and the First Movement of the Sonata in B Flat Minor, Op. 35.  Loleng invited some friends and relatives to listen in and we enjoyed it immensely. Gilopez was just the dutiful husband recording history with his ubiquitous camera.

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That same night the Kabayaos brought in tow one of Gilopez’s newest violin students, 17-year old Jeline Oliva who was once a NAMCYA winner but who hardly had any really formal training in both violin and piano. According to her mother, Judith Llorin Oliva, Jeline, who still wears braces on her teeth, is a very dedicated musician and gave most of her time to her violin practice since she started late in this instrument (which she does not own personally). She chose violin over piano and that night at the Panlilio "Music Hall" Jeline played the Concerto in G Minor for violin, Op. 26 by Max Bruch and Caprice No. 15 in E Minor by Paganini.

But while we were all making chika-chika, someone brought up the fact that Jeline can also play the piano well, even though she has no piano at home and hadn’t played on one for about four years. After initial shyness and a lot of coaxing, Jeline played the Third Movement of Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, Revolutionary Etude by Chopin, and Un Suspiro by Liszt---all from memory and with a sure touch that impressed music and art critic Baby Orosa. 

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We were, of course, all quite amazed. Mom Judith, a part-time elementary music teacher/tutor who resigned from a full-time job to help her daughter’s budding career, thinks she can make it in both violin and piano if she were to be trained by dedicated and caring teachers, as she now has in GiLopez and Corazon Kabayao.  Jeline applied last year at Mannes School  of Music in New York City despite  discouragement from her previous colleagues in music, and she qualified for video audition in December 2013 and then for live audition  in March this year. Two weeks later she was  given admission to Mannes---but without the scholarship she badly needs; she has not given up hope on it.    

Jeline's coming under the Kabayaos’ tutelage was something she and her mother had always wanted, especially after her piano teacher told Judith that she found the then 6-year old a very fast learner who could play advance music pieces. Judith confessed that she did not take  the opinion of her daughter’s teacher seriously--- until she brought her young daughter to St. Scholastica’s College music department, where the very first to hear Jeline were Gilopez and Corazon Kabayao. They wanted Jeline to be with them but at that time she was one  of the finalists of “Pilipinas Got Talent” of ABS-CBN and St. Scholastica’s music directress,  Sr. Placid, did not allow her to leave as she was then under the scholarship of PREDIS for pre-college. 

Sr. Placid assigned the young girl instead to two music faculty members: Gina Medina Perez in violin and Prof. Mauricia Borromeo in piano, who encouraged Jeline’s mother to make her join competitions at once. 

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Jeline submitted her application for a  Bachelor’s Degree in Music to Colburn School of Music, Los Angeles' most prestigious music school, and Mannes in NYC, with the help of the Kabayaos---and hopes to get the critical scholarship. She has had intensive training under GiLopez Kabayao for two months, and her rapid improvement shows in her playing four virtuosic pieces for video audition. Judith Oliva acknowledges the huge help of the Kabayaos who are now preparing Jeline for another live audition in Mannes this coming February, ---that hopefully would come with the prized scholarship. 

As Judith put it, “Napakalaking tulong ang training under the Kabayaos. They are one of a kind. I truly salute them po at nagpapasalamat ako nang sobra.”

Cheers to those dedicated “Music Missionaries,” Gilopez and Corazon Kabayao, and much luck to Jeline Oliva as she tries out in the big league. She will need a lot of help in this endeavor, and I hope you my blog friends would come to her assistance.   This is also where some kind of subsidy from the State for very gifted young Filipino artists would go a long way---if only the people in government would realize this.

  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

FB reader says, in response to National Transformation Council’s challenge for P-Noy to resign, why not just wait---it’s only 18 months to go. Reasons why it has to be, as Archbishop Arguelles argues, NOW NA. Reminiscing about my days as aspiring writer and Frankie and Tessie Jose’s kindness in accommodating my visits to their home to make incessant phone calls in the late '60s.




National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose receives upgrade of his rank in French L'Ordre des Artes et Lettres Award from French Ambassador Gilles Garachon on Jose' s 90th birthday
(Photo credit from Philstar.com) 


A reader reacted to various posts in FB about the successful assembly of the National Transformation Council in Davao City last Dec. 5 that called on the resignation of President Aquino on account of his administration’s corruption and incompetence---and mobilization of citizens around the country to convert into reality the NTC's vision of a more God-filled, humane and caring, and competent administration.  While discontent over the Aquino administration has grown, however, there is also this reaction such as the reader's above: why not wait 18 months more, malapit na, pagkatapos pwede nang palitan.

The problem with this “wait na lang” reasoning is that the way this administration is going, it would not countenance losing the elections, as it’s already a matter of survival from impending prosecution and possible jail for P-Noy and his DBM Secretary once he leaves office. P-Noy has to ensure by means fair or foul that his completely trusted handpicked candidate wins, and all signs point to that end goal. As Bacolod civic leader Lyn Gamboa points out in a recent post, it would be the same cabal voted into office again.

Hence, as Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles puts it, “Now na.”

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To summarize briefly, P-Noy is in total control of a most pliant Congress and casting aside all pretenses of fiscal restraint, the P22 billion supplemental budget for 2014 was passed by the House; and while there is some whimper from the Senate, it looks like a moro-moro only. 

On the other hand, Speaker Sonny Belmonte was reportedly upset that DBM Secretary Florencio Abad quickly sought an addition of P6 billion to this already monstrous supplemental budget , after learning that National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon had testified to the existence of some P38 billion in the Treasury coffers. But let’s see in the next few days if the Speaker would stand his ground and not indulge Abad---haven’t we seen that  scenario before?

In the next 1 ½ years left of this administration, gargantuan amounts of public funds would be needed, hidden in all manner of  LUMP-SUM BUDGETING such as the “Grassroots Participatory Budgeting” for LGUs, to ensure that the country would be flooded with funds for the coming elections. Remember that as lawyer-crusader Greco Belgica, whose anti-pork petition before the Supreme Court was upheld, the pork barrel in the 2013 national budget was P1.1 trillion and P1.2 trillion in the 2014 budget. In the 2015 budget, it will be a far bigger pork lump-sum as it will be "AN ELECTION BUDGET." 

Thus, expect all the pork lump-sums to be thrown in, plus the cranking of the well-oiled LP propaganda machinery, the Senate puppets who would destroy any and all challengers to the LP, and of course, those indispensable PCOS cheating machines.

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Note that now even Comelec’s lawyers are against negotiated bidding with Smartmatic for the purchase of additional PCOS machines and refurbishing of those still usable, as the lawyers stressed the need for more transparency in the poll body’s dealings. 

Interestingly, IT experts have slammed Smartmatic for threatening a lawsuit if the Comelec would refurbish those machines with rival technology. As lead IT expert Hermenigildo Estrella snorted, didn’t Comelec pay P1.8 billion to BUY those machines and everything that goes with those for the 2013 elections?  It was a sale, not a lease. But Sixto Brillantes, retiring this February (and reported to be replaced by Jonathan Tenefrancia of the law office of Avelino Cruz, who had handled the protest of Mar Roxas vs. Binay in 2010) seems bent on nailing down the contract bid for Smartmatic as his final contribution to the total demise of credible elections in 2016.

True democracy does not stand a chance with the P-Noy administration in 2016, because he has to be insulated from possible prosecution and a GMA scenario. If one keeps this reality in mind, then it makes sense, as the NTC stresses, that P-Noy be asked now na, and let more competent and honest leaders take over to save this country we all love.

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Last Wednesday, Dec. 3, the 90th birthday celebration of National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil Jose, was rain-swept but still a glittering gathering of the cultural who's who of the country and it couldn’t have been in a more auspicious place than in the main lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Except for Sen. Loren Legarda, who was the only active politician, and former President Fidel Ramos, Frankie’s fellow Pangasinense, it was just friends and associates of the National Artist, whose family, led by his devoted wife, the former Tessie Jovellanos, and several of his seven children who made it to Manila, helped meet the guests. It was a fun night, and a reunion of artists of all sorts as well as those from the intellectual community who hadn’t seen one another in a while, and whom perhaps only Frankie could draw together.  

National Artist Ben Cabrera enjoyed taking photos of the Joses for posterity, and French Ambassador Gilles Garachon upgraded Frankie's earlier ranking in the prestigious French L'Ordre des Artes et Lettres award from "chevalier" (knight) to "officier” (officer). Singer Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo, daughter of National Artist Cesar Legaspi, now sporting a becoming short blonde hairdo, was still suffering from jet lag and forgot the opening lines of “Gaano Kita Kamahal” by National Artists Ernani Cuenco and Levi Celerio, but gamely carried on to much applause. At one point I enjoyed the sight of three nonagenarians sitting together: Frankie Sionil Jose, Inquirer Founder Eggie Apostol who turned 94 last September, and irrepressible Larry Henares who turned 90 last May.  

Writer Gilda Cordero Fernando, who terms herself a contemporary of Frankie, silver-haired and draped with a silvery shawl, held court in one area, still looking great. I enjoyed chats with power couple Satur Ocampo, looking statesmanlike in his grey barong, and Carolina “Bobi” Malay, who has allowed her hair to now grow all silver, reminding me so much of her lovely mother Paula Carolina, Nelson Navarro and Sara Soliven de Guzman of Star.  I was particularly happy to see once again Pepe and Coring Abueva and Michael and Lourdes Mastura.

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I have my own fond recollections of Frankie and Tessie Jose. Back in the second half of the 60s I was a young bride whom my West Point-educated husband brought to live in a small unfinished house owned by his elder brother in GSIS Village, which was next door to middle-class Project 8 subdivision.  At that time the house we moved into had no light and water, and it was obviously only love sustaining us (my mother was aghast at first that this young second lieutenant had the temerity to propose marriage with his P180 a month salary, whereas upon marriage I had to quit my job at Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation where I was special projects officer earning about a thousand pesos a month!). Eventually the basic comforts of civilization crept into our little home and I raised the first of several babies there.

As an aspiring writer then, I wrote regularly for Eggie Apostol’s “Woman and the Home” magazine in Manila Chronicle, and I’d research in the UP Library or do interviews---pregnant and all, clinging to buses or jeepneys to get back to GSIS Village. I was also selling life insurance to my UP co-graduates for extra and easy money.

If our love-nest had no light and water in those early months, having a telephone was as remote as the moon. For this absolute necessity of contacting the editor and insurance prospects, I’d go to the home of Frankie and Tessie Jose in next-door Project 8 and make calls there. Their phone was in the book-lined library and I’d see Frankie working quietly; they were very nice and hospitable to my sudden appearances in their home for incessant phone calls in those years, until we moved to another part of Quezon City.  

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Over the years I would also frequent the Joses’ pioneering bookstore, Solidaridad (now celebrating its 50th year), on Padre Faura St. in Manila, which, in my formal working days, had been my haunt.  Prior to my marriage, I had worked as assistant to the Regent of the Ateneo College of Law, the famous Fr. Pacifico A. Ortiz, S.J., who made history as President Quezon’s personal chaplain in the war years (escaping from Corregidor with the Quezons and General MacArthur to Mindanao and Australia and later on to New York City where MLQ was confined for his tuberculosis).  Fr. Ortiz had been our chaplain at the UPSCA in UP and he and Humanities Professor Josefina D. Constantino (later to become Sr. Teresa of the Gilmore Carmelites) were to have a profound influence in my life.

It was in Fr. Ortiz’ office where I met and would become close to some of the great politicians of the next two decades, among them Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez, Sen. Raul Manglapus and Sen. Manny Manahan, as well as labor leader Jeremias Montemayor, who was then Ateneo Law Dean. 

Recollecting about the hospitable Frankie Sionil Jose made me also realize how much I miss the Padre Faura of old, in a city that has grown so tragically inhospitable to historic landmarks. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Davao Declaration of the NTC Assembly last Dec. 5 called for resignation of President Aquino and his Cabinet for failure to competently handle the gargantuan problems of nation---which are really a string of leadership crises P-Noy has created. With Ruby presaging natural calamities to hit us with more intensity and frequency owing to global warming, Davao NTC argues that all the more there's need for leaders with more competence, honesty and integrity. Davao has a history of revolutionary tendencies.


Backdrop of the National Transformation Council Assembly in Davao City

Citizens lining up to sign the Davao Declaration


The National Transition Council convened once again in Davao City last Friday, Dec. 5. It was preceded by the very first NTC Assembly in Lipa City last Sept. 30, followed by Cebu City last Oct. 1, Butuan City last Nov. 11 and Angeles City last Dec. 2. In all these assemblies participants were quite fired up over the crying need to institute “regime and systems change” as well as badly-needed reforms to uphold the moral and political order and the Constitution. The rallying cry in these five NTC assemblies: it’s time for the President to resign over the corruption and incompetence of his administration in various fields of endeavor, and let more competent and honest leaders take over the reins of government.

With typhoon Ruby, said to be equivalent to the strength of typhoon Pablo and following super-typhoon Yolanda of 13 months ago, it’s clear that natural calamities will be upon us in increasing frequency and strength, owing to global warming. All the more we have to pay a premium for competence and honest and judicious employment especially of public funds---something the Aquino administration given to corrupting legislators and Cabinet officials cannot claim. 

As the nation's crisis deepens, all the more there's need for more competent and moral leaders to take over.  

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The Davao NTC Assembly listed grave shortcomings of this administration, such as “the President’s continued stranglehold upon Congress in violation of the separation of powers and the doctrine of checks and balances among three co-equal branches of government.” It deplored the Aquino administration's virtual control of the conduct of elections, thwarting the sovereign will of the people in many many instances in the last two national elections, and Comelec's indifference to fraud complaints by IT experts. 

Davao NTC also zeroed in on the railroading of the “P2.6 trillion budget which resurrects all the lump sum discretionary appropriations which the Supreme Court had unanimously declared unconstitutional when it voided the pork barrel system in August last year and the DAP last July 2014." The NTC also deplored on-going  attempts by this administration to grab more pork barrel in the form of the P22 billion supplemental budget currently being rammed through Congress for 2014. The P22 billion in large part will supposedly be allotted to the Yolanda crisis, on top of so many billions already allocated for that particular crisis in a rush supplemental budget for 2013 and in the 2014 budget. 

There's also the failure of the Aquino administration to address “the nationwide transportation, energy and electric power crisis.”

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But above all, declared the Davao Assembly which was constituted mostly by citizens from all over Mindanao---lumads, indigenous peoples, sectoral and professional leaders as well prominent multi-faith leaders from there, led by Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla: “AS MINDANAOANS, WE SPECIFICALLY LAMENT THE ADMINISTRATION'S HALF-BAKED EFFORTS TO PASS A BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW WITHOUT SUFFICIENT CONSULTATIONS WITH ALL THE AFFECTED PARTIES IN MINDANAO AND BEYOND, WHICH IS INDISPENSABLE IN CREATING THE CONSENSUS THAT WILL ULTIMATELY SUPPORT THE LAW'S MOST AMBITIOUS PROVISIONS. THIS IS MOST UNFAIR AND UNJUST TO ALL MUSLIM FILIPINOS AND ALL OTHER FILIPINOS, WHO LOOK FORWARD TO LONG LASTING PEACE AND PROSPERITY THROUGH A MEANINGFUL, AUTONOMOUS STRUCTURE.”

"AS MINDANAOANS, WE ALSO DEPLORE THE FAILURE OF THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION TO HELP THE LOWLY COCONUT FARMERS ACQUIRE WHAT IS DUE THEM, BY PASSIVELY STANDING BY WHILE A GROUP OF ELITIST POLITICIANS AND THEIR CRONIES TRIES TO TORPEDO AN AGREEMENT THAT WOULD FINALLY GIVE THE FARMERS THE RIGHT TO USE THEIR OWN FUNDS COMING FROM THE COCONUT LEVY."

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In view of the reality of a multitude of problems of varying enormity, the Davao Assembly solemnly declared that “We must now transform our vision... of a well-run, peaceful, God-loving and prosperous democratic nation” into reality “at the earliest possible time” through such “lawful action” as is necessary and desirable" The end goal: “to transform the moral, political and constitutional order of the nation.” 

In other words, declared the Davao Assembly, “WE HAVE COME TO BELIEVE THAT NO SOLUTIONS ARE POSSIBLE WHILE THE AQUINO GOVERNMENT IS IN OFFICE. THE SOLUTION WILL COME ONLY UPON THE REMOVAL OF THE AQUINO GOVERNMENT, AND ITS REPLACEMENT BY A MORE RESPONSIBLE AND CARING GOVERNMENT.
FOR THIS REASON, WE UNANIMOUSLY DECLARE THAT THE TIME TO COMPEL PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO TO STEP DOWN IS NOW, THAT AT THE END OF THIS DAVAO ASSEMBLY, THE NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION COUNCIL SHOULD EMBARK UPON A NATIONWIDE MOBILIZATION EFFORT IN ORDER TO TRANSFORM ITS VISION INTO REALITY.”

In the memorable words of Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles in that first assembly: "Now na, now na."

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The Davao Declaration, signed by many thousands, becomes more significant in the light of typhoon Ruby which would demand much more concerted and competent effort of government to rehabilitate huge swathes of devastated populations and areas. This is quite apart from the failure of the Aquino government to address problems spawned by Yolanda over a year ago which have been left to fester, as recent photos of Ruby’s damage on the makeshift shanties of Yolanda-era have shown.

In the wake of problem upon problem wrought by past and recent devastations in the Visayas---let alone the coming power shortages all over the country, the increase in corruption and criminality owing partly to the demoralization of the PNP, and the economic downturn resulting in more loss of jobs---it’s easy to deduce that this administration would clearly become even less and less competent to handle all these gargantuan problems.

This is the message of the NTC Assembly in various places in the archipelago which cannot be taken lightly, as it's being pondered by many of our people, whether in groups or in the quiet of small conversations and solo pondering.

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Davao has always been a favorite breeding place of revolutionaries of various kinds.

It will be recalled that opposition leaders Cory Aquino and various members of the Batasang Pambansa were gathered in a sudden caucus in Cebu City during the night of the breakaway and mutiny of Defense Chief Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Vice Chief Fidel Ramos on Jan. 22, 1986, in the dying days of the regime of President Marcos.

As the Cebu group assessed the results of that dramatic breakaway of the anti-Marcos military group, Assemblyman Ramon Mitra proposed what seemed startling to many then: to establish a revolutionary government in Davao while the military faction was locked in a stand-off with the Marcos forces in Manila. 

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I recall how forceful Mitra’s argument was and how well-received and seriously pondered it was especially by Davaoenos such as Lito Lorenzana and Chito Ayala, and Mindanaoans like Homobono Adaza and Nene Pimentel. Had the EDSA Revolution not broken out later that night of Jan. 22, 1986, after Cardinal Sin summoned people to surround Camp Aquino, something like Davao could have materialized in the next few days.   

Over the decades since then Davao has been in the eye of various political activities that include Muslim separatists and left-wing groups. The colorful Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s higher but still secret personal ambition is always gist for media speculation, and among spinning rumors is that former President Fidel Ramos, his former National Security Adviser Joe Almonte and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno have been quietly meeting with Duterte. 

And so the world turns, and the nation awaits deliverance from incompetence and corruption.