LIKE in previous years, the National Correspondents Club of Baguio (NCCB), in partnership with Phases Learning Center, will usher in this year’s Filipino-American friendship day celebration on July 3.

In our brief but fruitful meeting Thursday, Phases directress Cita Bernal expressed her appreciation to join once again the NCCBers in its annual clean up and beautification efforts particularly at Burnham Park where the monument of Daniel Burnham is located, the Justice Secretary George Malcolm monument at Malcolm Square and the Col. Lyman W. Kennon Monument along world-famous Kennon Road.

Both historical markers of Architect Burnham, the planner of the City of Baguio and Col. Kennon, the builder of the Kennon Road are significant infra projects of NCCB, under my humble leadership as president and executive project officer.

With the invaluable support, understanding and cooperation of the Department of Tourism, then headed by DOT secretary Narzalina Lim, the City Government of Baguio and a comet of friends, the Burnham edifice was constructed in 1992. It was inaugurated on December 28 to highlight the annual celebration of Silahis ng Pasko sa Baguio with US Ambassador to the Philippines Richard Solomon as guest speaker. He also led the unveiling of the monument assisted by former congressman and Mrs. Bernardo Vergara, Mayor and Mrs. Mauricio Domogan and my wife Consuelo Sol, after the blessing rites officiated by Bishop Ernesto Salgado.

On the other hand, the Col. Lyman Monument was inaugurated on July 4, 2005, as a fitting climax marking the 100th year observance in the construction of the mountain highway. Then Col. Mathias R. Velasco of the Joint Military US Assistance Group (JUSMAG) represented the US Embassy in Manila as the principal guest to the special event. The construction of the Col. Kennon marker was favorably approved by former mayor Braulio Yaranon and the Department of Public Works and Highways-Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO), again with the cooperation and support of friends whose names are enshrined in the bronze plaque citing the development efforts for the monument.

Going back to our forthcoming activities, Phases will provide all the necessary equipment such as broom sticks, dust-pans, plastic garbage bags, soap and rugs. Mrs. Bernal said they will bring along with them paint and brushes to repaint the figures and murals on both markers and that of Justice Malcolm. She said at least a dozen or more from the school’s cast of athletes will compose their workforce. Early next week, I will personally inform the CEPMO officials about our schedule. The spirit of volunteerism of Phases Learning Center should be a fire brand inspiration for others to follow and emulate.

This morning the BARP Foundation will hold its regular monthly assembly at the BARP Hope Center along Bokawkan Road. The two-hour get together starts at 9 o’clock in the morning. BARPers, all ranks are again reminded to attend the affair in uniform. President-CEO Prof. Federico Balanag said very important matters concerning the growth and development of the foundation, particularly on its present mutual aid benefit programs, are the main agenda.

Meanwhile, I and the Special Events Committee finalized the plans and various programs to commemorate the 16th year anniversary of BARP foundation.

A prominent feature of the forthcoming episode is the Annual BARP Foundation Journalism Leadership and Service Award program honoring the 10 most outstanding tri-media practitioners from the City and the Cordilleras.

The laudable undertaking is on its 18th year, held in cooperation with the NCCB and the Philippine Information Agency-CAR.

To be honored are at least two reporters from a television network, four from print media and four from the radio broadcasters group.

The BARP awards and recognition committee is chaired by BOT Monroe Taclawan, PIA-CAR Director Helen Tibaldo and Joseph Zembrano, NCCB vice president Romy Gonzales and I as the vice chairman are in the committee.

President Edong Carta of the Cordillera Broadcasters Alliance will serve as consultant.

By the way, the BARP foundation day celebration is on July 24. More information on this regard will be dished out shortly.

Up to this writing, we the senior citizens from the various elderly organizations, want to know our participation or program assignment in the Fil-Am Friendship day celebration on July 4. Because we are aging, we need more time and comfort to properly join and enjoy the historic occasion. In many ways, we were years back an integral part of the International Fil-Am day, especially when we got our independence as a republic from the United States of America after World War II in 1945.