THERE are several meritorious ordinances or local laws that fail presumably due to non-implementation.

These ordinances were adopted with the best of intentions to maintain safe and clean environment, and above all, comfortable living.

Of late, the Baguio City Council has adopted an ordinance banning the chewing of “moma” quid and/or spitting. Voting was not unanimous with nine in favor, two against, and one abstention.

The propose ordinance is forwarded to the city mayor for his approval or disapproval.

(Moma chewing has three basic ingredients: betel nut, hapid or green leaves, and lime powder ensuing to red colored saliva / sputum. Others add tobacco.)

To my mind, this ordinance is similar to the ban of chewing gum in Singapore. The government strictly enforces the law and the penalty, among others, is public flogging.

If we would recall, this Singapore ban on chewing gum became internationally known when a young American tourist was apprehended for chewing gum in public. The penalty was flogging causing uproar in the western hemisphere and a diplomatic protest from the United States government. His sentence was enforced nonetheless with lesser number of whips.

Councilor Joel Alangsab, the author, is now the most popular elective official among moma quid addicts residing in the city and the Cordillera. He must have been a casualty of a mouthful of quid released by an Ifugao moma buff, according to a City Camp resident. Hence, he adds: “vengeance is his” to all “moma” chewers.

“Idi intuprak awan ka; idi nagdighu diay tuprak ada ka; di bahol mo” goes the popular joke among Ifugaos on those who endured a splash of red colored moma quid.

Half a century ago when Baguio was the undisputed cleanest city in the country, “moma” addicts from Ifugao and Kalinga roam the streets and her corners. The city was never “painted red” as sputum receptacles were in place. A “Kiangan Station” was also recognized as betel-nut chewing Ifugaos established themselves during weekends at the city market.

Those were the years when respect for indigenous culture and responsible city administration smoothly worked hand-in-hand. But as the saying goes, “one cannot control how things change”.

With this “moma” ordinance, police and other enforcers have an added job to the long list of existing local ordinances.

The list includes, among others, illegal parking, traffic violations, anti-littering, vendors and beggars along sidewalks, anti-jaywalking, curfew among minors, smoking in public places, squatting, etc. Morosely, most often than not, these ordinances are not seriously enforced most notably illegal gambling and jueteng.


As the year 2020 ended, we keep to newspaper traditions by making these nominations for the past year in the spirit of banter and fun. As the saying goes: “Bato bato sa langit, pag matamaan huwag magalit”.

Unwanted visitor of the year — Corona Virus or Covid-19

De-franchised TV channel — ABS-CBN

Emerging Legislator — Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, 1-SAGIP Partylist

Never ending political power plays — Lower House of Congress

City Mayor — Benjamin Magalong, Baguio

Provincial Governor — Dr. Melchor Diclas, Benguet

Fighting lady town Mayor — Clarita Sal-ongan, Tuba, Benguet

Destructive typhoons — Rolly, Ulysses, and Vicky

Transport modernization — Road worthiness of China-made

Controversy — Mini-busses

Igorot headliners — BuCor Chief USEC Gerald Bantag; Atty. Thorrsson Montes Keith

Well-deserved promotions — Igorot military/police officers

Cordillera upcoming boxer — Carl Jammes Martin of Ifugao

Martial Artists — Team Lakay champions

Proud PH flag bearers abroad — Pinoy boxers

Traitors — Those who speak ill of Pinas

Un-Pilipino legislation — Erasing “pagmamano” culture and tradition

Accepted bad words — “fuck” and “putang ina”

Backbone of Benguet economy — Vegetable farmers

Notable tourist spot transfer — Highest road elevation point from Atok,Benguet to Tinoc, Ifugao

Bane of PNP-CAR — Irisan, Baguio kidnap-slay

Most gruesome murder — Beheading of an Irisan lad

PNP-CAR Image spoiler — CAR drug enforcers

Notorious street pan handlers — LTO and PNP road agents/enforcers

Baguio image/goodwill builders — La Trinidad strawberry farmers; Burnham Lake boats in Cagayan

Advocacy movement — BCBC vs removal street newspaper stands

National Artist — Apo Yang-od, tattoo artist of Tinglayan, Kalinga

Vanished expression — “ag-gaganso” in Baguio; “if you die, will you go to Heaven?” (said in the Kiangan dialect)

Honest public transport drivers — Baguio taxi chauffeurs

Most honest grade school boy — German Jay Garcia of Alfonso Lista Central School, Ifugao

CAR Police failure — Booming Jueteng operation

Most colorful police in uniform — Cordillera PNP in Igorot G-strings or tapis