Road Revolution in Cebu Today

Missing Felimon’s “Suroy-Suroy” best describes Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City’s major road.

Ang kadalanan sa atong dakbayan

Gubot pa’s lukot basin ka’g maugmaan

One Cebuano friend once told me that Cebu’s streets are becoming the best place to stress our lungs, to drain our time, and perhaps to end our life.

But NOT today! In fact, Osmena Boulevard is the safest road in Cebu City today. It’s very safe for mother who crossed the road pulling her’s child’s stroller.

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Ellah Joy Pique and Child Pornography in Cebu

The story of an innocent child who was abused, murdered, and thrown just like garbage is an often heard news to Philippine communities. I’ve heard and read it many times.

But still, I could not believe when I read that a naked 6-year-old girl […] (and) drenched with her own blood was thrown over a cliff by a road in Guibuangan, Barili, Cebu. (Read ABS-CBNnews.com story)

Justice for Ellah Joy Pique

The poor victim was Ellah Joy Pique, a grade one pupil from Minglanilla town in Cebu. Ellah Joy Pique’s story drawn the interest among  Cebuano’s and the cry for justice thundered not only from the sleepy hometown of Ella Joy but among the elites in the Metro (Cebu).

The very brutal killing of an innocent 6-year-old girl in February 2011 is still a mystery until now although authorities are now show a pretty-sure-face after getting a major blow and shame for getting-wrong-guys

I am among thousands of Cebuano’s who call for justice for Ella Joy and his family. I join the prayers for all the child victims who like Ella Joy wait for real justice.

Like many celebrated crime the call for justice for Ella Joy landed in Facebook. It has less than a thousand supporters as of this week (in April 2011).

Several months ago, there was a movement in Facebook that pushed members to change their profile picture in support of children’s rights. I am hoping that the same movement would take child pornography.

Ellah Joy Pique, a victim of Child Pornography?

Authorities and the public consistently look into the angle of pedophilia and child pornography.

Police claimed that Ellah Joy Pique was a victim of child pornography Cebu Daily News reported.

Cebu’s High Incidence of Sex Trafficking of Minors

Child pornography in Cebu has not been a secret. In fact, the Children’s Legal Bureau (CBL) have pointed Cordova, a small town in Mactan Island in Cebu, as having the highest incidence of sex trafficking of minors, Cebu Daily News reported on March 2011.

The same report revealed that most child-trafficking cases occur in Minglanilla town in south Cebu and the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Talisay as noted by Noemi Truya-Abarientos, spokesperson of CBL.

Ellah Joy Pique came from Minglanilla where, according to Children’s Legal Bureau, most child-trafficking cases occur.

Online Child Pornography

With easy access to high-speed internet connection, anyone can engage in the multi-billion dollar industry (over $97 Billion total worldwide revenue in 2006 according to figures cited by Family Safe Media) The Philippines is among the top 10 grosser!

Child pornography is just a tip of the iceberg. It is most profitable however because children easily get lured to an amount considered low by adults.

Internet pornography comes in many form – nudity, live show, erotic dance, and anything the client want.

It seems privacy and “safety” is no longer considered as major factor. While mostly done in private room, some children are doing “shows” in internet cafe and even in neighborhood’s peso-peso internet.

Anti-Child Pornography

It is interesting to note that the Philippines has yet-to known-law to almost anything. We have Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act (2009) but this remains a paper. Have you heard a fat-man and fat-women get into prison because of violation of RA 9775 lately?

Cebu’s Known Dark Secret

Child pornography has become a known dark secret of Cebu. The city and the provincial governments have yet to come up with concrete and long term solution to this. It looks like petty crime that it gets less attention until it cause major turmoil in the society.

Shall we wait for the day when we witness our government taking a sincere bold step in caring for our children? Or shall we take a stand and protect our children in our own little way?

As we wait, let our children suffer. Let our future carry the burden. And let us hope, continue to hope, and never get tired hoping.

Night Kids in Cebu’s Fuente and Mango Avenue Aren’t Safe

For several times, Cebu Fuente Police Station has become the refuge of adults who were victims of small boys and girls.

Yes, you can be become victims of children who at night time make the vicinity of Fuente Osmena circle down to Mango Avenue (Gen. Maxilom Avenue) as their playing grounds.

These kids are not just playing but also looking for their potential victims. Most victims are foreign nationals and unaccompanied women.

Kiddy Modus in Mango

In the November 12, 2010 editorial of Freeman Cebu, the ways of these children were described.

These boys and girls, aged anywhere from seven to 10, operate by ganging up and swarming around their victims, pretending to ask for alms. They grab the victims’ arms to immobilize and stall them. Then amid all the commotion, one will pick the victims’s pockets or bags.

These children should not be underestimated. They are as dangerous as the jeepney pickpocketers and main street holdupper in Cebu.

The same editorial described how these children counter attack!

In the few occasions that victims did try to grab or hit the kids, they would find themselves in far worse trouble because the kids would then launch a counterattack by stoning the victims with whatever stone or projectile they can lay their hands on.

Lately, we got a relief because news stories would say that victims got back their stolen wallet. Apparently, our Police know so well where to find these children once a victim reported.

Of course, because they are children, no case were filed. The next evening, these children would attack again.

In a society where we are very protective to our children, let us also give attention this uniquely Cebu kiddy modus. Even adults need protection.

Cebu’s challenge: Beat energy crisis

Next to water, electrical power is one of the critical area in an fast-growing community like Cebu. I always put water on top because it is a very basic need.

Rotating brownouts

This week, some areas in Cebu experienced power outages. Cebu Daily News reported on May 20 that the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) imposed rotating brownouts […] to cope with the power shortage. The day after, Sun.Star Cebu ran a head-turner news lead: More brownouts, DOE says.

In recent months, Cebu had experienced rotational brownout. It pained many organizations especially the small businesses.

The rotational brownout sparked the discussion on how to address the looming power crisis. Questions were raised, do we need to build more fossil-powered plant? Do we need to build nuclear power plant in Cebu?

Discussions in local media were often fruitful but most often overshadowed by talks on politics.

Multi-sectoral discussion on mitigating power crisis

Recently, in Cebu, a multi-sectoral discussion on how to beat crisis was held (April 30 at Marriott Hotel). The discussion aimed to gather key opinion and resource persons in Cebu business community and the government sector to express their views, opinions, and insights about the current energy crisis and on how we can lessen its impact.

The discussion was initiated by Schneider Electric represented by Philippe Reveilhac, country president of the company in the Philippines. Schneider Electric spearheaded the discussion to actively involved in informing and educating consumers and business community on the importance of energy efficiency and management as viable tool to lessen the impact of energy crisis.

Among the participants were representatives from various groups, sectors, and companies – most notable were, Nestor Archival who represented the Cebu City Council; Wilson Ng of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce; Dondi Joseph of Cebu Business Club; Carlos Co of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).

Adequate power supply in Cebu

Cebu power has stabilized! Although I mentioned earlier that there was power outages last week, it was relatively small compared to power outages in the last quarter of 2009 and early weeks of the first quarter in 2010.

In February 2010, Manila Bulletin report, the Department of Energy (DoE) in Region 7 announced the full operation of Unit I of the Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC) coal-fired power plant in Toledo City, which has a power generation capacity of 82 megawatts (MW) could stabilize the Cebu energy requirement. True enough! Other power plants are on the final stage of development and would contribute additional power to Cebu.

This is a good news to every Cebuano. However, the looming energy crisis has not faded away. From 2010 to the next five years, Cebu can be assured of adequate power supply. However, considering Cebu’s growth rate, it is projected that another power plants must be operational in 2015.

The crucial role of the government

During the Schneider Electric-led multi-sectoral discussion, participants agree that the government has crucial role in mitigating the power shortages. Cebu City councilor Nestor Archival informed that the city actually lay out some plans on power sourcing and on spearheading campaign to save power.

The use of solar-powered street lamps was mentioned. In my recent vacation in Mindanao, I saw a number of solar-powered street lights. It’s a good project because have them means less cost on the part of the government. And environment-friendly, too! Mindanao is largely powered by hydro-power – so it must be friendly to environment.

The utilization of whatever renewable energy is one of the best move so that we lessen our heavy reliance on fossil-powered plants.

This is the point that I would like to give emphasis. While there is an effort on the part of the government and the private investors to source for additional power supply (like building more power plants), an active participation among residential and industrial users is also a crucial factor. Power end-users must learn to save!

I am not sure if the government requires building and other edifices to implement power-saving designs and architecture. I believe the government encourages that. In addition to this, the government might also implement reward system to those institutions, government units or companies that implement effective power-saving designs or programs. These important points were discussed by participants.

Synchronize efforts

All sectors in the community need to synchronize efforts to better manage energy. There must be an active participation among institutions down to the grassroots level. Yes, energy management is not the sole responsibility of the the power providers and the government but also a responsibility of the smallest energy user.

Just imagine if all families in Cebu know how to effectively use electricity and conserve power, perhaps we could save several tons of coal each year.

How would you effectively use electricity at home? Do you exert some efforts to save some watts at home?

I join Cebu Blog Camp 2010

I’ll join the Cebu Blog Camp 2010! That will be on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at CAP Auditorium, Cebu City.

Since I started blogging, I always take the opportunity to take part on building strong blogging communities. Blogging for me is not only an online activity but an opportunity to build friendship, to learn, and to express in many ways (not only limited to online stuff).

Cebu Blog Camp 2010 is expected to be the largest gathering of bloggers in Cebu. It is not only a greet-and-meet gathering because prominent bloggers are expected to join and share valuable insights and experiences.

As posted in Cebu Blog Camp 2010 website:

Cebu Blog Camp is an event that focuses on honing the skills of bloggers offline. This event will gather a large number of bloggers all over Cebu to discuss the latest developments on the Web, Search engines, and making money online.

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Gabii sa Kabilin (Night of Heritage): An invitation to rediscover Cebu

Cebuanos and tourists are invited to rediscover Cebu’s rich culture and history on the Night of Heritage or Gabii sa Kabilin. Bring along your family and friends and take a tour to nine museums/heritage structure in Cebu City that are open from 6 PM to midnight on Gabii sa Kabilin, Friday, May 28, 2010. To give you unique experience, you can even ride a tartanilla and experience Cebu’s colourful past!

9 museums/heritage structures on a special Friday night

This year’s Gabii sa Kabilin is expected to bring more colors and valuable experience to visitors as nine Cebu museums/heritage structures join. These are: Casa Gorordo Museum along 35 Lopez Jaena Street, the Cathedral Museum of Cebu and Basilica del Santo Niño Museum on P. Burgos Street, Fort San Pedro in Plaza Independencia, the Yap-Sandiego ancestral house on the corner of Mabini and Lopez Jaena Streets, Museo Sugbo on M.J. Cuenco Street, 1730 Jesuit House along Zulueta Street, University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) – Rizal Museum on Mabini Street, and Sacred Heart Parish along Jakosalem Street.

What to experience?

You can revisit Cebu’s past by going on a walking tour to the museums. To take a glimpse of religious relics and old statues and images, visit the Cathedral Museum of Cebu and the Basilica del Santo Niño Museum.

In Casa Gorordo Museum, you can learn how Cebuanos live during the Spaniard’s long stay in the Philippines. The Yap Sandiego House and the 1730 Jesuit House in the old Parian district take you back to the unique colonial architecture.

The USPF-Rizal Museum rich Rizaliana collection offers you with interesting things about Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero. Beautiful contemporary paintings of Cebu’s artists are showcased at Sacred Heart Parish museum.

Another interesting highlights on Gabii sa Kabilin is your opportunity to listen to traditional Cebuano love poetry and music by local performers or watch dance performances by the Sandiego Dance Company and other dance troupes. You can also watch reenactments of Rizal’s last moments as well as award-winning indie films.

Parada or tartanilla rides are offered at between Fort San Pedro and Basilica del Sto. Nino Museum. Mini-buses are offered from Museo Sugbo, Fort San Pedro and Sacred Heart Parish.

We would also like to offer our guests a chance to ride the calesa or tartanilla (parada), a mode of transportation at the turn of 19th century as they move around from museum to museum. We also encourage people to dress in period costumes for the event, said Dr. Joy Gerra, Executive Director of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)-Cultural Heritage Program.

Cebuano food and delicacies as well as Cebuano arts and crafts will be showcased and sold at certain venues.

To give you a quick view on Gabii sa Kabilin, visit Leylander’s My Cebu Photo Blog (MCPB) for the Gabii sa Kabilin 2009 pictures.

How to take part on this unique heritage tour

To be a part of this one-of-a-kind experience, get your Gabii sa Kabilin tickets at the respective participating museums for P100 per person (please see contact information on the list of participating museum below). Ask any of the tartanillas to bring you to Fort San Pedro and Basilica del Sto. Nino Museum for only P50.00 per person.

Quick facts on 9 participating museum/heritage structure

Casa Gorordo Museum
35 Lopez Jaena Street, Cebu City
(032) 418-7234 loc. 532
Website: http://www.rafi.org.ph
Description/Collection: Lifestyle Museum

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
Corner Mabini & Lopez Jaena Streets
(032) 515-9000
Description/Collection: Lifestyle Museum/Private Residence

Cathedral Museum of Cebu
P. Burgos Street
(032) 412-3455
Website: http://www.cathedralmusuem.com
Description/Collection: Ecclesiastical Museum

Basilica del Santo Niño Museum
P. Burgos Street
(032) 255-6699 loc. 602
Description/Collection: Ecclesiastical Museum

Fort San Pedro
Plaza Independencia
(032) 256-2284, 416-7080
Description/Collection: Heritage Structure

Museo Sugbo
M.J. Cuenco Street, Cebu City
(032) 516-2128
Description/Collection: History of Cebu Province, National Museum, National Historical Institute Museum

1730 Jesuit House
Zulueta Street, Cebu City
(032) 255-5408, 255-5409
Description/Collection: Heritage Structure

University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF)-Rizal Museum
Mabini Street, Cebu City
Description/Collection: Rizaliana Collection

Sacred Heart Parish
Jakosalem Street, Cebu City
(032) 253-6479 local 114
Description/Collection: Art Gallery

Gabii sa Kabilin takes its inspiration from the long night of the museum in Germany and other European countries. It is also the culmination of the International Museum Day (May 18) and the Philippine National Heritage Month (May) celebrations.

Organized by RAFI in partnership with the Visayas Association of Museums and Galleries Inc. (VAMGI), Gabii sa Kabilin is the only museum and cultural event of its kind in the Philippines and Asia.

This annual summer activity began on May 25, 2007 with four Cebu City museums/heritage structure—Casa Gorordo Museum, Cathedral Museum of Cebu, Basilica del Santo Niño Museum, and Fort San Pedro.

On Election 2010: Choose the Way of God

In a pamphlet, Cockfight, Horserace, Boxing Match (Why Elections are Covered as Sport) published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2004), journalist Sheila Coronel wrote:

Philippine elections have always been intense political exercises. […] No other event can mobilize so many citizens in such a concentrated period of time as election can.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) observed:

[The] Philippine politics – the way it is practised – has been most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human development.

(stated in 1997 Pastoral Exhortation on Politics)

The Vote God campaign launched recently by the Dilaab Foundation serve as our guide on May 10, 2010.  It calls us to take roles on the most intense political exercises we have in this country. Instead of hurting each other; instead of shaming each other; we can work together to make election the most pleasant experience for all of us.

If you have seen the video I shared in An Election without Vote Buying, you have witnessed how the people in Calidngan in Carcar City, Cebu was transformed. Why they succeed? The reason is simple. The people in Calidngan choose the way of God.

Vote God

Together, let us take roles for a clean, honest, and peaceful election. Let us choose the way of God.