A YEAR stamped with change ended with grace and hope when Cordillerans Eduard Folayang and Kylie Versoza won big in the international scene, bringing much needed pride to a city in want for heroes.

The City has never been more proud, needing someone to hail as royalty and brimming with pride, a welcome fit for kings and queens were bestowed to Folayang, One Championship’s lightweight champion and Versoza, Miss International 2016, gushing well wishers lining the streets on their homecoming with officials receiving both with a distinct pride of place and heritage.

In the historic fight, Folayang knocked down a Japanese legend, Shinya Aoki in their lightweight title bout shocking the world and himself on his strength while Versoza’s beauty overshadowed over 50 candidates from all over the world, championing the country and the region to the world.

True to the Cordillera’s candied beauty, Kylie’s wit and charm wowed the world when she was crowned which brought pride to a city boasting of its own grandeur, though dwindling with years of development.

Folayang’s macho win over the renowned Japanese foe, reminded the city of its own strength to which is needed in the fight to retain its place as a haven for nature, culture and peace.

Forcing the world to look in our way, both heroes now serve as an inspiration not only to the youth but most especially to generations before the millenials, bringing back a pride of place and heritage.

In a time of death, hate and politics, the refreshing story of Folayang and Versoza has given the city and the region as reason to celebrate, their win became our triumph, the prestige given to both champions became our pride, making them heroes of our time.

A remembrance for those we lost

The year that was saw the demise of political luminaries Leonard Mayaen, Dr. Esteban Poik and Jack Dulnuan leaving their legacies in public service for generations to learn from.

Piok, a known champion of reproductive health and general healthcare pushed for towns to establish a Women’s Health Team, aiming to focus on maternal health issues, he advocated for safe child birthing techniques for mothers and the use of the medical establishments when delivering their babies.

Old man Jack was loved and revered for his rags to riches story and known all over for his legendary “Jacks Rice,” a combination of fried chicken, pork lechon, chopsuey, a cup of rice topped by a sunny side up egg branded and carried in all of the chain of stores his kin as opened.

Popularly known as the owner of the famous Jack's Restaurant, the businessman turned politician was an advocate of agriculture, entrepreneur and environment.

Stories regale he started his business using his P1,000 savings, which he earned from working as a houseboy and delivery boy which fueling him to build his own farm which now supply the vegetables and meat for his restaurants, a repair shop, and a technical vocational school.

Mayaen’s death paved the way for the rise of his reluctant daughter, Kathy Jyll to step into politics, creating a whirlpool of controversy for Motañosa’s gubernatorial seat.

The events after the untimely death of Mayaen saw the push and pull of politics in the time of grieving and elections, putting into place the fate that is yet to be decided for the reluctant Kathy Jyll.

After swearing in as governor, an injunction has barred Kathy Jyll to assume the gubernatorial post and is now up to the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Comelec to decide her fate.

Lawin’s wrath

When nature reminds you who is boss you have no choice but to listen, once again Mother Nature has shown us what it can muster.

Super Typhoon Lawin was the storm that put the region to its knees, bringing damage to life, property, agriculture and infrastructure, bringing all provinces in the region to their knees, a state of calamity was declared all over with rehabilitation, still in the works.

Damages to agriculture has reached P390,027,737.16 million with Abra reporting P23,866,400 crop damages while Apayao with P91,642,262.14.

Benguet meanwhile reported P4,151,032.93 crop damages, P46,511,991.35 in Ifugao and P25,378,838.20 in Mountain Province.

Cordillera also incurred damage in fisheries amounting to 6,472,426.80 with Abra having P762,550 while Apayao has P1,805. In Benguet, the damages reach P1,053,203, with Ifugao at P3,011,882.80, Kalinga at P1,601,736 and Mountain Province at P41,250.

At least 15 were reported to have perished in the region, four injured with 66,518 families or 307,305 individuals affected by the typhoon overall.

Murder of the year

There is no justice for the family of the 16-year-old boy from Pines City National High School (PCNHS) murdered on his way to school.

The 10th grader died in Labsan Street in Kayang Extension after suffering from at least 40 stab wounds, shocking the city of the crime’s stark brutality and uncouth brazenness.

The student passed through the notorious shortcut on the fateful morning with his murderers carting his gadgets and lunch money.

Bitter tears were shed for the boy who was buried in a gloomy afternoon with parents Claire and Gener still in shock, with a distraught father and a dazed mother mumbling there were no more tears to be shed for her little boy, exhausted from her wailing.

Teachers, strangers and classmates gathered for final rites at the Saint Vincent Chapel to bid goodbye to the young boy who violently died on his way to school.

Since the murder, police has been silent in their investigation, refusing to divulge information so as not to compromise the case.

The war on drugs

At least 30 have died in the city since the war on drugs started.

Of the total, 26 deaths are unaccounted for, assumed to be drug related, but not police sanctioned, each loss of life has jaded the citizenry, stealing humanity from their demise.

Despite the call to for local police to investigate sporadic killings the death toll as mounted and has enraged the City known for its peace loving folk.

A team was formed by the Baguio City Police Office to investigate non police related deaths to no avail.

Killings rocked the city when gunmen in motorcycles and on foot murdered alleged drug pushers and users in the 128 barangays, all three areas were in the vicinity schools, crowds and residential areas, bringing death and fear to the city.

Talks of drug dealers killing each other in the fear of one going to police and surrendering information, another is a thought police are involved in the drug trade using drugs seized during official operations in dealing in the trade.

Treasure Hunting

The lure of the Yamashita treasure continues to this day with a hopeful Eliseo Cabusao Jr. asking the local government to allow him to dig the expanse of the Baguio Convention Center to amass truckloads of gold bars believed to be part of loot left by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Stories of the buried gold was shared by a 90-year old Baguio Born Half Japanese man who has been a US resident since the mid 70’s who pointed to him.

E-Bingo

As the year ends whispers of a payoff to city councilors to approve e-bingo operations have been floated tainting the integrity of the legislative council.

A source said the payoff was given to some members of the local council to approve operations of the e-bingo establishment in Maharlika as brokered by a fellow councilor.

In a petition, Baguio Benguet Bishop Carlito Cenzon with members of the Baguio Benguet Ecumenical Group (BBEG) has appealed to the Mayor Maurico Domogan not to renew permits for E-bingo establishments in 2017 and advocated for family oriented tourism, honest and clean businesses, for responsible public officials and city employees and protected school children, students and families.

The proponent Romeo Chong, president of RCC Global Entertainment Inc. is currently renting from Maharlika and the condition of their contract valid till 2015 to 2024 is for the business line of a variety store strictly prohibits PAGCOR related business without the following requirements; 1) City council resolution of no objection for the operation of PAGCOR games at the premises; 2) PAGCOR permit after city council approval; 3) business permit to operate; 4) Mayor's permit 5; DTI 6) sec registration

There are a number of E-Bingo establishments in the city owned and operated by various individuals, all getting local council approval and city permits to operate.

In the December 12 regular session the local council approved the operations of Chong for E-Bingo in Maharlika.