To be or not to be

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By Jun Ledesma

Sunbursts

Monday, March 10, 2014


WHAT is this I heard that a group of businessmen from the capital region are willing to underwrite the political campaign of City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should he decide to run for president? This despite the oft-repeated declaration of the mayor that he is not interested with the Presidency and all that he wants to do is retire after his term.

The clamor for Duterte to run has become too persistent to just ignore. So last Friday, on nationwide TV which was also beamed worldwide, Mayor Duterte appeared in Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's Give Us This Day program to announce that he is not in the running because he is not qualified. I am sure that the TV audience must have been perplexed by the mayor's statement. For one, the mayor is a lawyer and had served as city prosecutor before becoming the longest serving city mayor (which was punctuated only with a single term as congressman). Indeed the mayor's refusal to answer the call and challenge for him to run for President is a contradiction if we go by the norms in Philippine politics. In addition to his statement that he is not qualified, Duterte who is known to be spewing expletives especially when the subjects are about criminals and criminality, warned that he lacks the refinements that many of our politicians and statesmen possess.

"I speak my mind. If I say I will shoot a criminal, I really mean it. I said that when I warned David Tan or David Bangayan that if he will show his face in Davao City to operate his smuggling syndicate. I repeated that in the Senate hearing a matter which Human Rights Commission Chairperson Etta Rosales was mad at. What does she expect I should do? I will lie about the fact that I said I will shoot Bangayan?"

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Duterte lamented that CHR resents the manner he treats criminals. "When the members of the kidnap-for-ransom syndicates brought their victim to Davao City, we had them neutralized. Etta (Rosales) was so mad at me and she even went on national TV to say that what I did was murder. When I issued a warning that I will shoot smugglers and drug pushers she says that it was unethical."

Duterte explained that he knows his law and said that there is no statute against warning criminals. He said that Chairman Rosales should be aware that when you are dealing with kidnap-for-ransom, smuggling and drug syndicates you be prepared to shoot and be shot at.

"You do not cajole these hardened criminals to lay their arms down and surrender offering them due process," Digong lectured. "Pero og Hudas ning mga p_t_ng ina, mas Hudas pa ko nila (If these people are like Judas, then I am more like Judas than them)."

He said that he will shoot them first before they can shoot me and if Rosales wants him to go to jail because he ordered kidnappers to be neutralized for opting to shoot it out then so be it.

"I will never give any quarter to criminals," Digong stressed.

Talking with the mayor is never a dull moment because he is an open book. He lamented about what happened to his marriage but that he loves his children so dearly. The problem with engaging the mayor to a conversation is that oftentimes this lasts to the wee hours. The wee hours are when people sleep and that's when the Mayor starts prowling the nooks and corners of the city. He does not drive a taxi anymore because an enterprising media person blew his cover. (The mayor was photographed driving a cab past midnight.)

The other day, Mayor Duterte went to the old airport terminal site of a grenade blast exploded by a terrorist to light a candle and say a prayer. The incident, which killed over a dozen people and maimed several others, happened over a decade ago but had been etched deeply in Duterte. He said that the gory incident moved him with a firm resolve to always be vigilant and deal with the criminals with iron hands. Besides, he said, when you have peace, orderliness and security in the city business will flourish and so with capital inflows.

That is lesson 101 for Ms. Etta Rosales on how to manage a city and (who knows?) the country. The question many Duterte followers are begging an answer for is whether "The Punisher" will run for the Presidency. "To be or not to be" that is the question.

The children and their education our greatest concern now

Rehabilitation is the most used term in our country today. All the calamities experienced around us call for this. The most disastrous is Yolanda, an unequaled, unprecedented calamity in the modern times.

Earthquakes, typhoons, storm surges, tidal waves, heavy monsoon rains, excessive flooding, major geologic events as the recession of shorelines are in the headline news almost daily. All aspects of rehabilitation were called for as a consequence. These include infrastructure reconstruction and modifications. Homeless people needed improvised shelters as tents.

Most were housed in relief centers. The people needed food, clothing, and other basic needs for sanitation. The numberless dead had to be identified and buried. Exigency resulted in mass burial after all possible identification was made. Imagine, as of this writing the rescuers still find dead bodies in some places. The survivors are given chances to start livelihood activities. These are all very commendable. Billions in aid from around the world poured in kind and in cash. The government had organized persons to attend to these gigantic tasks.

Going back to the theme of this column, I will expound on the rehabilitation centering around the children and their education which was disrupted by these disasters. I believe this is a great stride to rehabilitate the people starting with the youth, the future citizens of our country. Remember, the youth is the hope of our fatherland. This is a challenging task. Many school buildings were destroyed, partly or totally. These need attention. Roofless buildings are covered with tarpaulins.

Desks and tables have to be repaired or replaced. Regarding the personnel, the teachers are needed to plan the program for rehabilitation. The surviving pupils and students want to go back to school. They may have practically nothing. Some have no parents. No homes, no clothes, shoes or slippers, no school supplies. They are in a daze, an aftermath of the tragedies which were traumatic for them. They need debriefing by guidance counselors.

Temporary classrooms in tents, gyms, parks, any available space will do as long as there is a teacher and a number of pupils. Citizens are requested to donate anything of use. I read this news. In Cateel, damaged by typhoon, Pablo, they had no electricity. Remember my solar energy piece last week? The school was lighted with solar energy panes by a solar energy provider. They pay a minimal amount to the company much cheaper than Meralco. This company gets energy from the sun without paying the sun or any transmitting agents. In the disaster areas it is so heartwarming to see so many donors to rehabilitate the schools. Books, school supplies pour in to help the pupils.

In Davao City today, we have the upgrading and modernizing programs which I will describe here. Modern gadgets and varied multi-faceted teaching aids are introduced. Generous citizens donate television sets, computers, multiple visual aids to make learning more effective. These are pro-active or interactive in teaching style. But remember there should always be a teacher to handle these gadgets. The establishment of a Science Center which includes these facilities is remarkable. It has a Planetarium, a Slide Show of Famous Scientists to inspire students to pursue science as a career, a Biology section, Global Warming and Climate Changes, and Engineering on infrastructure. The Science Center is open from 8 am to 8 pm. All these will liven up learning far from the humdrum studies inside the four walls of the classroom. There is no reason to be sleepy.

Before I retired from teaching I had exposed my students in Science to the famous Science Centrums in Metro Manila. I will give you a short preview of this unique experience. The planetarium is dome- shaped and it has a huge projector on the floor surrounded by an amphitheatre shaped rows of adjustable cushioned seats to see the skies comfortably. We see the nightly skies, the stars and constellations like the Big Dipper and Small Dipper where we see Polaris the pointer star, Orion, Scorpio, and Libra. We see the sun rising from the east and setting in the west. All are very interesting as explained with soft background music. The Biology Section is about plants, animals, and man. We saw what happens to the food we eat till it becomes part of our body and the foul wastes expelled through the anus. We see how green plants make our basic food the carbohydrates getting energy from the sun. My students enjoyed seeing the measurement of the heat of their bodies and magic mirrors where two students seated in front of the mirror can exchange hairdos, faces and parts of their bodies. In the Physics section they saw how they can transmit electricity thru the tesla coil.

The climate change is very alarming and it shows the cause which is the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Engineering had changed man's surroundings through settling giving rise to cities and towns. All of these are learned in one sitting adding to the storehouse of knowledge of the students.

For comments, text cp no.09202112534.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 11, 2014.

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