Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Bato bato sa langit ang tamaan huwag magalit...pls!"


'Da Vinci' breaks record sales in Oro

THE controversial film The Da Vinci Code is raking in record profits in predominantly Roman Catholic Cagayan de Oro where film piracy has nearly put local cinemas to sleep. Gaisano, which is showing the film at its Cinema 2, recorded ticket sales of some P100 thousand on the first day alone.


Romanian theater group conducts workshops, performances in Oro

MISAMIS Oriental governor Oscar Moreno strikes a pose with Liceo de Cagayan University owner Madam Rafaelita Pelaez Golez and her son, an international pianist artist and awardee during opening rite of the World Festival of Drama Schools held at Capitol building on May 18, 2006. Right photo shows Romanian delegate, mostly students are singing their cultural song during fellowship night at the provincial capitol of Misamis Oriental. (Photos by ED MONTALVAN)

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Oro archbishop speaks on 'Da Vinci Code'

THE new archbishop of Cagayan de Oro on Friday doused cold water on calls to ban the film version of the controversial bestseller The Da Vinci Code, saying the local archdiocese would instead focus on teaching Roman Catholic doctrines and in telling people about the ‘‘erroneous claims’’ of book author Dan Brown.

The Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) gave the film an R-rating last Tuesday––meaning, anyone below 18 years old are not supposed to see the film in the theaters. The adults rating also means SM-Cagayan de Oro would not show the film. The establishment has a policy against showing films that have been given R-ratings by MTRCB.

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, who would officially assume the top Roman Catholic post in the city on May 30, said Brown’s book and its film version should be taken as a challenge.
It will ‘‘challenge the maturity of Christians,’’ said Ledesma in a phone interview.

The controversial film, which stars Oscar award winning actor Tom Hanks, is scheduled to be shown across the country on May 18, a day after it premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

It’s a ‘‘soft stance,’’ said Ledesma on calls to ban the film. ‘‘Challenging Christians to be mature in their faith is the more difficult stance."

Ledesma, who is also vice president of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the Conference has already started issuing guidelines that priests can follow in refuting claims in The Da Vinci Code.

Priests were told to emphasize that the book and its film version is a work of fiction, he said.
"We will just point out the errors. We will not call for a ban. We are just exhorting Christians to study," Ledesma told the Cagayan Journal.

He said other bishops have described the The Vinci Code as "a monetarily profitable attack on the divinity of Christ."

Ledesma said the local archdiocese would encourage Catholics in this part of the country ‘‘to study the history and the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith.’’

Early this week, Mayor Vicente Emano criticized groups that have called for a ban on the film in the city.

Emano, a Mason, said a ban on the film would curtail the right of citizens who want to watch the film that is based on a book that claims the Church suppressed information about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene’s relationship by smearing the latter. Brown claims Christ and Magdalene had children.

He said those who have called for a ban on the film ‘‘overreacted.’’
"Dili angayan nga ila kining kagubutan," he said.

Like Ledesma, Emano religious groups should take The Da Vinci Code as a challenge so Christians could strengthen their faith.

"Angayan ang Katoliko mag-lig-on sa ilang pagtuo. Challenge kini sa ila," he said. "Naa ra kana nimo kung ma-usab ang imong pagtuo."

"that can be read at Gold Star Daily>

‘Pinoy eagle has landed on summit of Everest’

MOUNTAINEER Heracleo "Leo" Oracion became the first Filipino to conquer the 8,848-meter Mount Everest yesterday, May 17.
Arturo Valdez, leader of the first Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition, said Oracion, of Lukban, Quezon, reached the summit of the world’s tallest peak at 3:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. in Manila).


Thursday, May 18, 2006

30 Journalists Finish PECOJON Peace Seminar

PECOJON international coordinator German journalist Antonia Koop gives out training certificates to Cagayan Journal editor Ben Balce. The seminar is the second this year for Mindanao-based journalists. In January, the PECOJON held a similar seminar in Zamboanga City. PECOJON has members in at least 11 countries. With Koop is Len Manriques (far, center) of PECOJON.

Rey Naranja, (not in photo) representative of Germany's InWent, speaks to selected newspaper, television and radio reporters and film makers from all over the southern Philippines who finish Monday 17 May 2006 seminar on peace and conflict journalism sponsored by the international Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON), InWent and Pax Christi in Davao City's Eden Nature Park.

COWD rules out water rationing in Oro

LOCAL fire department based in Barangay Bulua helps in delivering potable water to Buenavista Village residents. (Photo by Cagayandeorojournal)


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Peace Journalism and the Cynics in Us

By Mike Banos

WE just came back Monday from Davao city after attending a seminar-workshop on Peace and Conflict Journalism at the Eden Resort in the hills above D.C. Joining me for the Northern Mindanao journalists were the"Cardinal of Lanao" from Linamon, Lanao del Norte, Richel Umel; Aping Bergado, freelance combat videographer extraordinaire; Ryan Rosauro of Business World from Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental; Aurell Arais of DXDB Radyo Bandilyo in Malaybalay City and Ben Balce of Gold Star Daily.

The seminar-workshop was organized by PECOJON (Peace and Conflict Journalism Network), a group of international journalists started in Bacolod City but with headquarters in Germany who banded together in a commitment for responsible and constructive conflict reporting aimed at peaceful solutions to root causes of conflict. It was supported by InWEnt or Internationale Beiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH (Capacity Building Internationale, Germany), an organization for international human resources development, advanced training and dialogue.

In the van, as always, were the grizzled veterans of combat reporting in Mindanao, like Julie Alipala of PDI, John Unson of Philippine Star, Al Jacinto of, Malu Manar of NDBC, Boy Punzalan of PNA-Cotabato, Rommel Rebollido of PNA, Charlie Senase of PDI & Mindanao Cross, Aqui Zonio of PDI-Gensan and of course, His Grace Richel and Froi from our region, to name a few.

Not to say the others knew or were less because of their age and experience, but those in this "veterans" group were the most vocal, having been the most in the line of fire, so to speak. Neither to fault our Bacolod-based German facilitator Antonia Koop (promptly christened with the Pinay nickname Toyang by the older folks), who experienced combat reportage on her own in Palestine , Israel and Kenya as a journalist and filmmaker
Here we all deferred to the veterans, since they've been there, done all that.

Being most under fire and already having lost quite a number of comrades-in-arms as a result of the various conflicts which always seem to be just simmering under the surface of Mindanao's verdant greenery, most if not all of those present were all for Peace Journalism as explained by Toyang.

But, similarly, as already experienced by most everyone, especially those whose reports pass through a news desk and/or editor based in Manila and who usually have no idea of what's going on in Mindanao, much less the geography of the place, it's easier said than done. Time and resources seem to be the most prevalent problem in tackling the status quo.

Set for only two days, a plain discussion of the problems encountered by the Mindanao Press in attempting to inculcate Peace Journalism in their reportage is hardly enough time to take a good look at the problems, much less explore solutions to it.

Worse, the prevalent perception appears to be how the Manila-based news desks and editors cut up factual and well-researched reports to the way they want it to be, and that means the old school "war journalism".

Short of setting up an independent, Mindanao-based news agency dedicated to the principles of Peace Journalism as pioneered by Journalists Jake Lynch and his wife Annabel McGoldrick in the BBC, Sky News, and the Independent, it was the consensus of the group that unless a radical paradigm-shift in the orientation of the Manila based press who decided which reports would be published or go on-air and how they would look or sound like, it would be a Sisyphean task to task to even dare think peace journalism in Mindanao.

Nonetheless, it was likewise the consensus that sitting on our butts and pondering how decision makers in Manila or wherever the headquarters of the media outlets would ever be compelled to attend a seminar-workshop on Peace Journalism (what with the work load those people already have, with no one able to sit in their stead while they attend a 2-5 day seminar outside the city) was hardly a solution either, so we had to find a middle ground which was neither here nor there, but generally headed in the same general direction as Jake, Annabel and Toyang eventually would want us to be.

Even this first step already pressupposes organization and advocacy. Organization to facilitate the flow and exchange of information between journalists whose times are already at a premium due to the nature of their vocation; and advocacy to sell the idea of peace journalism especially to decision makers in government, media and NGOs and most especially to local political leaders who are all in a position to decide whether or not Peace Reportage has a place in their vested interests and future.

To start, I've proposed the organization of an independent email group where participants to the recent seminar can talk and discuss their ideas with each other and where future directions and initiatives can be presented for future consideration. As our great, great grandfather Lao Tzu used to tell us, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

comments to

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Waterless Patag folk threaten to stage rally, file lawsuit

ANGRY residents of Patag yesterday threatened to stage a rally to call on city hall to pressure VT Lao Construction to speed up the ongoing repair of the Ysalina Bridge.

They also threatened to file charges against those responsible for the disruption of the water supply to their communities.

The warning came as a result of a water crisis in Patag that stemmed from the retrofitting of the Ysalina Bridge, also known as the Carmen Bridge, this week.

‘‘We will call the attention of Mayor (Vicente) Emano in a protest rally in front of city hall,’’ one of the residents said. They were contemplating a lawsuit but ‘‘that would be the last resort.’’

Patag is among the barangays that have been badly affected by the ongoing bridge repair. Most of its communities have become waterless since Wednesday after the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) was forced to temporarily cut off a pipeline attached to the half a century-old Ysalina Bridge.

"The worst thing next to traffic (has) now happened, (there is) no water supply," said Engr. Jose Abucejo, a former COWD assistant general manager and a resident of Buenavista Village in Patag.
Abucejo described the situation in Patag: ‘‘It’s torturing us.’’

He called on city hall to quickly act on the problem.
COWD said the water crisis resulting from the bridge repair not only affected villages in the western area. It said the entire city would suffer from low pressure.

COWD chairperson Rey Java said the supply of water to the communities would not normalize until the pipeline is restored. And restoration would not be possible until the construction firm is finished with the retrofitting.

Badly hit areas include Carmen, Patag, Balulang, Bulua, Bulua, Kauswagan, Bonbon and Bayabas, Iponan and some areas in Barra, Opol town, Misamis Oriental.

A group of residents at Mendoza compound in Patag blamed city hall for the water crisis, saying it did not prepare for the bridge project.

One of the residents said he would rather have traffic jams than no water supply.
They said over 100 families in Mendoza Compound and Buenavista Village alone have been suffering due to the complete absence of a water supply since Wednesday.

"The COWD should help us (by) providing potable water. The local government is the one liable," said another homeowner.

Meanwhile, homeowners’ and youth associations’ in Patag have appealed to Patag barangay chairperson Maricor Calizo to act on the problem.

Maura Sabud, one of the complainant of the homeowners’ group, said Calizo should bring the complaints to city hall to pressure local officials to look for ways in solving the problem.

Sabud also asked the local fire department to help in delivering potable water for Patag residents.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Parents of food-poisoning victims want people responsible identified

A GROUP of parents have called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to step in and identify the people who should be held responsible for the food poisoning of close to 90 workers of the Gaisano malls in the city a few weeks ago.

The group, composed of parents of some of the victims, said it was dismayed over the failure of local authorities to go public with the results of their investigation into the food poisoning.

"It would be hard for workers to file a complaint. They are only ordinary workers,’’ a parent of one of the victims said. He requested anonymity, saying his daughter is still working as a cashier at one of the Gaisano malls.

The group said it was puzzled because the team created to investigate the Gaisano incident has yet to release a clear investigation report.

"We want to know the result of the investigation and their recommendation. Who should be made to pay?’’ the group asked.

They said they were happy at first because many investigators and doctors came. ‘‘But all of a sudden, there was silence. It’s as if no investigation was ever made,’’ they said.

On the day Gaisano workers were rushed to hospitals, officials immediately formed a team composed of experts from the Department of Health (DOH), the city hall-run JR Borja Memorial Hospital and the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) to investigate the Gaisano incident.

Councilor Simeon Licayan, chairperson of the city’s health committee, also said at that time that a medical team from city hall led by Dr. Joselito Retuya was tasked to investigate. He said city hall’s actions would be based on the team’s recommedations.

"We’re still waiting... no one has really identified the people who should be held liable," the parents of the victims said.

Councilor Reynaldo Advincula said health authorities were certain the workers became sick after eating pancit (noodles) served by the employees’ cooperative. He however said the people who should be held liable have yet to be identified.