EXCEPT for perfunctory mention and scant releases in national publications, nothing of note is said of this year's so-called 117th year of our independence.

Not so for decades past of celebration. In the past, we capped our commemoration with deep remembrance of the sacrifices of courageous men and women who so unselfishly gave up their lives, dreams and careers at the altar of freedom so that we may live freely and peacefully.

Nowadays, we just go on with simple flag ceremonies and plain reading of messages but the real meaning of this day is lost in our consciousness.

It is not so during the 70s as we presented the various milestones then prevailing and we so revered the acts of our ancestors, as we extolled them for their great and meaningful legacy we then were experiencing.

Do we recall the different deeds of patriotism done by Rizal and company and very recently, the gallant men of the PNP SAF 44? Do we reflect on the impact of their singular deeds that we may live in peace in our homes and places of work?

We give more significance on our birthdays than on the lessons learned in the pursuit of independence, the real

one, in 1898.

For some of us, it may pass as just one ordinary day. This year, we do not prepare adequately to observe this very significant day in our history. It will pass, we say nonchalantly.

* * *

We now have daily doses of political advertisements, in tarpaulins displayed on the streets and on television.

It is just a matter of time before our politicians file their certificates of candidacy and after that the cajoling of the electorate.

I am just piqued at the attitude of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao who plays hard to convince him to

run for the presidency.

Now the poor people in his turf have started raising funds and passing the hat for peso contributions just to make him decide to stake his arm for the presidency. His TV ads are making us believe he has the better agenda for the country. What's the plan, Rody?

* * *

It seems the more mudslinging Vice President Jojo Binay gets, the more popular he becomes and before we know it, he gets the top post of the land. I doubt however if he can lead the country as effectively as his predecessor.

As for the other contenders, like Mar Roxas, they have to develop the charm that attracts voters. Mar, for example, is hard to sell as he lags behind in surveys.

* * *

As I've written before, the local officials have the edge in 2016: Mabalacat City Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales is a cinch to win his second term in the city.

Ditto with the internationally-acclaimed Angeles City Mayor Edgardo "Edpam" Pamintuan. Ed is still the man to beat in the highly-charged contest. Mayor Romy Pecson of Magalang will sail through his third term despite opposition from the landed Lacson bets.

* * *

I want to give my personal condolences to the family of the late Angelo "Sonny" Lopez who succumbed to multiple organ failure last week.

Fare thee well, insan!