Hidalgo: Holidays done with; welcome promising new year 2018

IT IS so refreshing to have a long vacation once a year. It is a most cherished tradition of all Filipinos for all members of their clans to go back to the old hometown Pasig, now Pasig City, where we were born.

We were almost a hundred in Pasig representing the five generations of our family tree. The parents of my parents, our third generation representatives are my cousins, then their children, and lastly the families of our children our great grandchildren. The youngest is a month old baby boy, "Apo sa tuhod," and the eldest is my gracious cousin, a retired professor of UP at age 95 years. Surprisingly, she is still up and about, teaching catechism in their garage to the neighborhood children.

Majority came from the different parts of the country and a few flew back home from abroad. You can imagine the joy of all of us, hugs and kisses, endless stories to tell.

My small family of eleven members only meet once a year since we live in far off Davao City. See, a hug and a kiss once a year.

On Christmas Day, we spent the whole day together starting with a sumptuous lunch of Filipino delicacies. Yes, one whole "Lechon de Leche" adorns the table with a man carving and cutting it into parcels which we eat with luscious viands, rice, and native sweets and fruits. After lunch is story telling time each one telling stories of how life had been.

We are five sisters. Medy, my youngest sister, and I, the eldest all octogenarians gladly told our clans that it was announced by Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc. without our knowledge, we were voted the Friendliest couple from billions of stories in Facebook for the year. We interacted with each other for more than 60 thousand times in our posts. What an honor!

The welcome gift exchanges followed. Games with the kids was fun. There was a special prayer of thanksgiving for graces from God. Then the prayers for our beloved departed members. Pictures were taken at all instances by generation, by individual families, and finally the whole clan photo. The organizers. requested each clan to wear assigned colors for each. We were assigned blue, the others, red, yellow, green, and gold. As usual, this is a day so memorable for all of us. My immediate family or four had to fly from Davao City. We silenced their fear that even if there is Martial Law in Mindanao, it is relatively peaceful.

I am delighted to share all these bits of good news from Davao. There is an intensified program in connection with the drug menace to treat drugs problems in a more humane manner. The "tokhang" program are distasteful to many. The EJK which has been criticized by the UN nonetheless, the EU and the UK were major news which the President had a negative reaction. His is killing drug addicts, pushers, users are killed when caught by the police tasked with eliminating them and resisting arrest, so they say. Kill the offenders to end them and save all other persons affected by their addiction. Why not treat them in a more humane and pathetic way. Remember, these addicts are not criminals; they are patients which need help and rehabilitation.

Nueva Ecija has a fully equipped rehabilitation center manned with expert psychologists who professionally treat them till they have conquered the" monkey" off their back. We see rehabilitated addicts who become active in helping others get healed. I wish the President will realize this.

The City Mayor Sara led the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a Day Care Center for children who are assured of maternal care in the absence of their biological parents. There were new rules promulgated on restrictions concerning the use of People's Park and Rizal Park. Many deemed the restrictions too stiff that the very purpose of the parks are not catered to. Yes, I notice this. Park users litter the place, destroy the plants, and disfigure benches with graffiti. Why not discipline the park users. Catch offenders, fine them. Inspect them and see if they have brought their own garbage black begs which they will carry home with them. I see it in the Religious Assemblies of disciplined members.

Twenty-six patrol cars were donated by Japan to safeguard the disciplined use of public utilities. The victims of the NCC Mall who were left jobless are helped by the government to find new jobs. Kapamilya Hustisya Patrol provides 200 lawyers to render legal services. An agency is giving and stalling photo luminescence light to be used in signages in Davao City to lessen accidents and misunderstandings among the citizens using the thoroughfares. All of these innovations will help immensely the safeguarding of citizens using the facilities provided by the government.

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