Thursday, August 16, 2012

Father's day is a lifetime event

Commentary Father’s Day is a lifetime event By: Reginald B. Tamayo Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:10 pm | Thursday, June 21st, 2012 Every Father’s Day, I prayerfully remember not only my father but also my mother. For both of them inspired me and molded me into what I am now, which neither one of them could have done without the other. Shakespeare said, “The tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree” (Henry IV, Part 1, Act 4, Scene 2). This echoes the biblical words, “For each tree is known by its own fruit…” (St. Luke 6:44) I am one of the two sons of poor but pious parents—the late Rogelio Espiritu Tamayo Sr. and Teresita Cuntapay Balisi. My father did not finish college because of poverty. Also, my mother could only finish a vocational course, again because of poverty. I say ours is a generational poverty because my grandparents were poor, too. However, to be in a poor home with pious parents was a blessing. When I ran for the Senate in 2010, I saw campaign materials of candidates with pictures of their famous fathers and mothers in the background, ostensibly endorsing the candidacies of their sons and daughters. I did not have similar campaign materials, not because of funding constraints but because my parents are not famous and prominent in society. Funny, but I just imagined myself having a picture of my father raising my hand, endorsing my candidacy. My father worked as a clerk. He accepted typing jobs in a logging company. He joined the ranks of the unemployed when logging was banned in Cagayan province. My mother was a gasoline girl. Once when I was in second year high school, my mother asked me to teach her how to write numbers from 1 to 1,000, how to use a calculator, how to fill up an official receipt, and how to add numbers with decimal points. I told my father about it. My father and I painstakingly taught her these things for many nights. I saw joy in the eyes of my mother when she learned them well. My parents may not have the aristocracy of the learned, but they had the humility in their hearts, which I am dearly proud of. I vividly recall when my parents and I had to watch over the house of the boss of my mother. There were times when mother’s boss and his family had to leave for Manila. My mother always admonished me not to touch anything inside the mansion while she and my father mopped the floor, cleaned the windowpanes, changed curtains and the like. I usually helped them clean the mansion while taking envious looks at the displayed, expensive and dazzling toys of the sons of my mother’s boss. I also remember my father to have pawned their wedding rings because I didn’t have a fare going back to UP Diliman from Aparri. It was good I had my uncle, UP history professor Wilfredo E. Tamayo (now deceased), to lean on during those trying times when I was completing my AB Philosophy. I also remember the day my father took me to Tuguegarao to visit his parents. I was comfortably seated beside him inside the bus. Suddenly, unceremoniously, he asked me to vacate our seats as new passengers came on board. From the town Lal-lo to Tuguegarao City, for almost two hours, my father and I remained standing inside the bus. When we got off the bus, I heard the conductor saying, “Pasensya pare, ha. Marami kasing pasahero.” Hearing this, I understood that my father did not have money for our fare and had asked for a free ride for both of us. When I was asked to prove my teaching skills in a teaching demonstration at the Lyceum of Aparri, I did not have a short polo barong and leather shoes. My mother borrowed a loose barong Tagalog from a neighbor, and I was forced to use the shoes of my father. I looked like a clown when I gave a “test lecture” before the academic deans and priest-administrators. When I got the teaching job, my father gifted me with a belt as a gesture of his appreciation of my “accomplishment” and as a way of “patting my back.” I still use this old belt whenever I miss my father. When the Department of Interior and Local Government requested me to lecture about legislation and parliamentary procedures before barangay officials, my father, who was then a barangay captain, was in the audience. I asked him to go up the stage and I introduced him to the provincial directors and other dignitaries. He was beaming with pride as he asked the photographer to take a picture of us. When I was appointed dean of Liberal Arts and dean of Student Affairs, I gave my parents a “tour” of our school, the Lyceum of Aparri and the municipal hall, introducing them to people from both the school and local government. But personally those tours were nothing compared to the “tour” they gave me through the ways of humility and where they introduced me to God. From them, I learned how to pray the rosary and novena every day. From them, I learned the value of hard work and honesty. From them, I learned to bend my knees in prayer. Reginald B. Tamayo is acting assistant secretary of the Marikina city council.

National gov't key to making PH a 'more fune" place

National gov’t key to making PH a ‘more fun’ place Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:49 pm | Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 Indeed, “[I]t’s more fun in the Philippines.” I had the opportunity to experience this recently in Romblon with Marikina City officials. After exchanging executive and legislative notes on community development, we had fun visiting Romblon’s enchanting white-sand beaches and mountains of virgin woodlands, stunning beach resorts with cottages, and browsing through exquisite marble carvings; savoring mouth-watering native delicacies like sarsa ng uyang; and meeting hospitable Romblomanons. Also a calming experience, aside from the late-afternoon stroll on the shore, was sharing pizza late at night with friendly European tourists by the beach, the gentle though chilly wind stroking our skins. The Department of Tourism is definitely right in choosing “more fun in the Philippines” as its main advertising come-on. Certainly, Romblon is one place where people can have more fun in the Philippines. However, I guess, such fun would be spoiled in tour destinations where the airports are unappealing, flights are delayed and airports personnel are rude. Worse, when the roads leading to a tourist spot are very rough, the transport facilities are inadequate, the fare is costly, etc. No matter how the local government units make every effort to transform their barangays, towns, provinces and cities into places where local and foreign tourists can have fun, if the national government would not do anything about the “fun-spoilers,” the fun in Philippine tours would be diminished, if not taken away altogether. —REGINALD B. TAMAYO, chief of staff, Office of the Vice Mayor, Marikina City

Enrile admirable

Enrile admirable 10:51 pm | Thursday, January 26th, 2012 I have been watching intently the impeachment proceedings on television and I could not help but admire the legal acumen of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. He exudes an authority that is beyond question and an aura of unparalleled political and legal experience. Truth to tell, I had the opportunity to exchange pleasantries with him in several fora and debates when I ran for the Senate last 2010. He was sharp with his thoughts and had a thorough understanding of the issues of the day. Because both of us hail from Cagayan province, we usually conversed in our dialect, Ibanag. From the looks of it, it appears that with Senator Enrile at the helm of the Senate, the outcome of the impeachment proceedings would be just and impartial. I wish the good senator all the luck and good health. —REGINALD B. TAMAYO, chief of staff, Vice Mayor’s Office, Marikina City

Allow ECs to exercise their right to choose

Allow ECs to exercise their right to choose 9:10 pm | Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 The contentious debate on whether or not electric cooperatives (ECs) should be registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) has gone on for so long. Much has been said about the issue. Allow me to join the discussion. 1. It is argued by some that ECs should be registered with the CDA so that they can avail themselves of tax exemptions. That is not necessary. By virtue of Presidential Decree 269, ECs are nonstock and nonprofit entities. And being nonprofit, the more reason they should be tax-exempt and not burdened with corporate tax, franchise tax, business tax, real property tax and other taxes. Besides, most of them barely break even. As it is, they are able to continue to serve their customers only because the National Electrification Administration (NEA) helps them with loans for almost all areas of their operation. 2. It is said that the bylaws of the ECs, pursuant to PD 269, expressly provide that the members should be “joint-owners” of these cooperatives with equity in the assets. Relative hereto, I raise the issue on the issuance of dividends. Do CDA-registered ECs issue dividends to the consumers? It would be worthwhile to find out if the so-called members’ equity has been computed as shared capita, thereby entitling members to a share of earned interests and other benefits. For the record, ECs that are not registered with the CDA are giving their member-consumers their share of ROI (return on investment) in the form of patronage refund. In fact, this is not given much importance by the ECs because they are focusing more on the government’s rural electrification program. 3. A shift of registration from the NEA to the the CDA must be decided in a general membership assembly. The management of the EC cannot make the decision on its own. Otherwise, it will go against the spirit of cooperativism and violate the democratic principle of majority rules. NEA’s control and supervision over the ECs is limited to their financial and technical operations. The question of where to register—with the CDA or NEA is an issue that the latter leaves to the member-consumers to decide. 4. There is no truth to the allegation that CDA-registered ECs are charging lower rates. Some CDA-registered ECs charge higher rates than non-CDA-registered ECs. ECs should be given the freedom to choose whether they will register with the CDA or remain under the control and supervision of the NEA. They should not be compelled to register with the CDA. The main issue here is not whether or not the ECs should be registered or privatized; the issue is the freedom of the ECs to choose for themselves whether they should continue to be registered with the NEA or with the CDA—an issue that should be best left for decision to the EC members. —REGINALD B. TAMAYO, chief of staff, Office of the City Vice Mayor, Marikina City

Get gangsters out of España

Get gangsters out of España Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:39 pm | Friday, May 18th, 2012 The city government of Manila did a good job at making a stretch of España, within the vicinity of the University of Santo Tomas, attractive by installing gleaming streetlights and prettified street islands. It gives the impression that the place is safe and secure. That is why my wife and I usually enjoy strolling along this street on Sunday nights. However, vandals have stained the waiting sheds. There are already drawings and inscriptions on them. They now look morbid as if they were the meeting places of gangsters. Taxpayers like us, who should enjoy these beautiful projects of the government, are disheartened by those who probably are not paying their taxes. —REGINALD B. TAMAYO, acting city council secretary, Marikina City

From Marcos to Marilaque

From Marcos to Marilaque 9:42 pm | Thursday, July 12th, 2012 I concur with the idea of a letter-sender that the name of Marcos highway be changed (Inquirer, 6/30/12). However, I do not share the view that it should be changed because it is named after a despotic president. My reason for advocating a change of name is different. Marcos Highway refers to any of the following highways: Marikina-Infanta (Quezon province) Highway; the highway connecting San Nicolas, Manila and Navotas City; the highway connecting Agoo, La Union and Baguio City which at present is also known as Aspiras Highway. Confusion or disorientation arises, no doubt, as to the name of these highways. To clear up the confusion, I suggest that the name, Marcos Highway, of the highway connecting Marikina City and Quezon province be changed. This major thoroughfare is also known as Marilaque Highway, which stands for Marikina-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon. I remember this from my days as a student of UP Diliman. My classmates and I occasionally traversed this highway in going to Laguna for a field study and a professor of Anthropology told us that Marcos Highway was also referred to as Marilaque Highway. Simply put, why not change this highway into Marilaque Highway? —REGINALD B. TAMAYO, acting assistant city council secretary, Marikina City

Slate "open season" for eel exportation

Slate ‘open season’ for eel exportation Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:00 pm | Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 This refers to the article “Philippine stops eel export” (Inquirer, 5/8/12), which says that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has banned the export of baby eels or elvers, locally known as dalara, with the end in view of saving it from extinction. The decision came after the BFAR regional office in Cagayan Valley recommended the ban due to alleged excessive, widespread and undue exploitation of elvers. Many of my relatives are marginalized local fishermen from the province of Cagayan and I am sure that they are now economically displaced because of this total ban. The gathering of elvers is their only source of income. And if the gathering of elvers is totally banned, many of their school-age children would have to drop out. The fishermen would also hardly be able to provide the needs of their aging elders and sick members of their families because of abject poverty. These fishermen know no alternative means of livelihood but to gather elvers. There is no job opportunity for them in public and private entities either. But they can have a decent and respectable life if they have a modest livelihood. No word may have been heard from these fishermen. But I am sure they want to air a plea: for President Aquino to lift the total ban. This total ban, in my view, does a poverty-stricken sector an injustice. So, to rectify the situation, may I suggest the following: 1. Declare the August-December period a “close-season” (gathering of elvers allowed) and the rest of the months an “open-season.” 2. The local government units concerned should help in providing alternative livelihood to these fishermen. 3. Teach the fishermen the ways of “optimum elvers-gathering” so they would not overfish the elvers. I know the government under the stewardship of President Aquino is fair-minded and empathizes with underprivileged fishermen. —REGINALD B. TAMAYO, acting assistant city council secretary, Marikina City