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December 3 - 9, 2016

Death penalty

The sub-committee on justice of the House of Representative had passed for debate on the plenary session the bill on the death penalty. Congressman Rodolfo Fariñas was its principal sponsor. While it was still debated on the committee, Congresswoman Bag-ao pointed out that there is no clear evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrence against criminality.

And that in the statistics crime rate showed increases rather than decreases.

I must disagree, and forcefully, with Ms. Bag-ao. I should remind her that when martial law was declared, President Marcos sentenced to death by firing squad a Chinese national for the manufacture of cocaine in Manila. That death sentence brought chilling effects to drug dealers in the country. Drug lords spread out to Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and other countries involved in Asia’s drug triangle. Would a lesser sentence deter such demonic instruments?

Certainly not!

When Maggie de la Riva was raped by sons of rich families in Manila, the criminals were then sentenced to death. While the prisoners were awaiting their execution in jail, one died because of heart attack. Their families went to Malacañang and begged President Marcos and Imelda for mercy and pardon.

The first couple denied their plea, more or less in this manner: “What if your daughters were raped, how would you feel?... “Indeed, what would be your feelings if your daughter is raped by devilish criminals? It must be known that the rapists of Maggie de la Riva were also drug addicts and had raped many young women before but had escaped punishment because of their influence.

They were eventually engulfed in the horrors of the electric chair. Also, do not forget the case of Echegaray during the time of President Estrada. While he was brought to the death chamber, he was not at ease, and there was obvious struggle to cling to his life as he was on his way to his death.

President Estrada had to execute the death sentence because it was uphold by the Supreme Court. It was the lone death sentence at that time. When Estrada was ousted by a fictitious impeachment, President Arroyo took over and the death sentence was replaced by life sentence for heinous crimes.

Many priests very vocally voiced their vehement objection against the death sentence. Their flimsy reason for objection is that the fifth commandment forbids killing because it says, “Thou shalt not kill.” This in the context of the normal course of events in human life.

Yes, no man is allowed to commit murder, but soldiers must kill in battle. No one must kill just because he wants to. Or rape women because of one’s urge to satisfy his prurient desires. Or kill his rape victim so that there would be no witness against him in court. The fifth commandment does not command humans on this regard. Such command is specific on irrational, animalistic kinds of crimes like murder, rape with murder, robbery with murder, arson with homicide, etc. But killing a person in selfdefense is another question. Many assailants were cleared by the courts when they killed in self-defense.

God punished people and nations which were mired in very serious sins like homosexuals indulging in unbridled sexual urges, lesbians in scandalous relations with women, criminals in unstoppable commission of killings and murders.

The burning of Sodom and Gomorrah are living images of God’s wrath against man’s sinfulness. In various other incidents in the Bible, heaven sentenced individuals and nations when these went beyond the limits of heaven’s patience in the commission of sinful acts. God, in his most exacting justice, certainly kills. And no one is exempt.

The death sentence, when passed before the year ends, is a Christmas gift to Philippine society. It is our nation’s retribution to demonic instruments who are recidivists in their commission of drug-related and other heinous crimes.

December 3 - 9, 2016

Preventing a flood

Before Typhoon Basyang gained strength in Maasin City on Feb. 13, 2014 at around 9:45 p.m., a big squall roared over the mountains that caused Tuburan River to swell and quickly overflowed, flooding the entire Purok Tuburan at brgy. Tunga-Tunga in just a few minutes. Some sleepy and panicky residents jumped off their beds to escape from the raging waters coming from the bridge where the waters started. Even an elderly was made to jump over the window to safety.

The lights were out when I tried to shut our front door. But it was too late, I had to let go of it.

The waters full of floating debris already entered the house that I could no longer hold on. They were now knee-deep at the curve side of the street that we had to run and struggle against the wind. All we could do was to take shelter on the hills nearby.

When Basyang calmed down at 11:45 p.m. we started down the hill with our flashlights and saw our house in waist-deep water and in complete disorder - a scene that no one will forget though

it was nothing close to Yolanda's fury in Tacloban three years ago. We had sighs of relief when the typhoon finally stopped, but the clean up had just begun.

Subsequently, three months later, the local government passed an unwritten resolution after a public consultation was held at the SB Session Hall on May 7, 2014, saying that residents will just have to evacuate when typhoons and floods like Basyang would strike again. It didn't make an official announcement though except by word of mouth. Had I not asked for the result of the public consultation, I would never know. Neither the heads of concerned government agencies would know. Should the government have to wait 'til some concerned private citizens step in? Was it because of politics, or was the public consultation just taken for granted?

Natural or man-induced typhoons like this, or both, cannot always be taken lightly ultimately because no one in this world would ever accept gross damages when the next typhoon comes blowing our wits again. A million-peso gross damage in just one to two hours of typhoon is already enough to ruin a future, especially for most Filipinos who largely depend on meager salaries. And for those who lost an opportunity to make a living due to a typhoon that makes life miserable - a valid reason why we stay poor. If a government is that sensitive, there are more rooms than one for prevention and mitigation.

How difficult is it to remove or excavate the soils from riverbanks developed by accretion for a few thousand pesos? Why is it hard to do it? Why do we always have to wait 'til the next disaster?

As it is always said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But I don't know if our institution has already found the cure. Surely, there's nothing we can do if the result of that public consultation was based on usual politics.

Meanwhile, let us plant some native grass in places like the mountain sides, in empty hills, or in our own backyard where water run-offs can easily develop.

Putting a stop to slash-and-burn farming saves the soil from getting eroded by these run-offs. A catch basin will do to slow them down. Plant trees regularly. Implement the law prohibiting the establishment of concrete or bamboo houses along the rivers to prevent a flood from overflowing fast.

How about a strict three-meter easement? Local government units should start now. Maybe some of them should be held responsible for allowing these establishments to ignore the law.

They should start doing their assignments and know what to do. A few creative and effective steps can be possibly done without using government money. That being said, it is also everyone's responsibility to look over the welfare of the whole community.

Let us not waste our time, energy and resources and the future of our children by meaningless rhetoric.

November 19 - 25, 2016

Anatomy of Change

What’s wrong with a Donald Trump US presidential succession after pulling a stunning almost incredible electoral history over a formidable rival in Hillary Clinton? Most experts and analyst point to Trump’s profound ignorance of government, being an outsider in a reality world of business alien to politics. It could be a blessing in some way compared to a curse that has been in governance as a self-made expert in circumventing the law to suit one’s egotrips. Their common denominator is a pervading climate of fear, intimidation and fabrication.

But the magic of their potion is their believers know they’ve been had, yet persist on being with the “brat pack”.

Undoubtedly, the first problem of every new administration is the choice of the crew to help the skipper man the ship of state. The infighting could be bitter and bloody. Desertion but not mutiny could be common with an inexperienced master or captain. The processes of healing and reconciliation can be slow or gradual in dealing with human pride and prejudice, sense or sensibilities. The choice of key men and top advisers is of paramount import unless the numero uno is of exceptional brilliance and can talk to God for guidance.

They tell us change is the only permanent thing in this world. Fame wanes and fortune may be lost. Trust erodes and confidence can vanish from one’s own making. What goes up must come down. We may be remembered better for human frailties but not excuses or excesses. Failures are human anyway.

Everyone asks if the change that’s coming is for the worse or better. Facts on the ground point to the former by reality check. Senseless bloody expansionist and sectoral wars all over the globe, political conflicts triggered by incurable megalomania and unbridled delusion of grandeur by leaders, greed and lust for power among others, or simply engrown personality disorders are the causes of these social cancers, according to analysts and experts. Surely, this is not the change we dream of. Human beings deserve better even derelicts and drug inflicted who have the right to change or live.

The Southern Leyte Times will be celebrating the life and works of its founder Antonio Mendoza Reyes by publishing some of his best works for our readers to enjoy one more time. Publisher Reyes continues to be the guiding light that made Southern Leyte Times (SLT) the largest circulating newspaper & on-line news website in Southern Leyte province.

The hardest job in the world

I used to think that elementary public school teachers had the toughest job in the world. That was until I joined the United Church of Christ chapter in Maasin City.

For although primary school teachers handle six classes of 60 different students a day; or a total of 360 students, and perform ten non-academic chores as well - they have supervisors to help them and can get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep at night.

While pastors are on-call 24-hours a day, attending to their church member’s problems, which often require home visits and a lot of patience. And of course they also have to prepare and deliver their weekly sermons, which itself, is a horrendous undertaking.

The main problem of most pastors in the country is that they lack the authority to perform their job effectively. This is so because they have a church council whose job was (originally) to make sure the pastors were following the tenants of the church. But over time, many have assumed the role of Chief Executive Officers, who pastors have to answer to for even the most routine administrative matters.

Although it’s not entirely the council’s fault since most are merely following the management practice of their predecessors. I have long felt it should delegate the church’s day-to-day management to its pastors so it could focus more on its original role as guardians of the Church’s mission goals.

I believe our church leaders and school teachers are the true heroes of our country. For they help instill in our people the time-tested Christian values of honesty, hard work, and love of country. Unfortunately, most people disagree, for they are still the most underpaid, overworked, and unappreciated work horses of our society. Think about this when you bring your child to school and go to church on Sundays.


Davao City has to suffer, if need be, for the Country
Atty. Jesus G. Dureza

September 3 - 9, 2016

This is not the first time Davao City was under attack. In the early '80s, the deadly communist "sparrow" units once held sway in some of our communities and spilled blood in our city streets. Then, San Pedro Cathedral was bombed one Easter Sunday. In 2003, Davao airport was also bombed. Then our Sasa wharf. Many died and scores wounded.

But in all these tragedies, Davao City survived. We rose from our feet every time. We did not allow the bad to dominate. We went on and resumed with our normal lives as quickly as possible, although still grieving and hurting. We strongly spurned and rejected the attempts of terrorists to dictate on us to disrupt our peaceful lives. We refused to be cowed or be consumed by fear. We did not want evil to win. Over time, Davao City, although wounded and scarred, prevailed.

The bombing today tells us once more that this is another time for us Dabawenyos to rise up and confront in order to again prevail. Davao City and its people have to suffer, if need be. But it is a small price to pay for the change that the whole country is dreaming of and yearning for.

Atty. Jesus “Jess” Dureza is currently the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Dureza was the former Chairman of the Philippine Press Institute and also served as Press Secretary under the Ramos and Arroyo administrations.





Editorial archives . . .


Shallene’s murder suspect a “no show”

Maasin-Bohol bridge pushed

Do not remove warning signs

Shallene’s suspected killer arrested!

Watersheds and trees to be protected

Farm-to-market road conversion in Liloan- San Ricardo town

City College land privately owned?

Man swims Bohol-Maasin 17 km. seawater span

Dengue cases increase 170 percent

“Hero of Light” electrocuted

Province's CT scan soon to operate

P30 Water Bill Hike

Electricity for the poor

Maasinhon leads probe of Espinosa slay

Oging is Deputy Majority Floor Leader

Fire eats up P100,000 worth of property


Death Penalty

Preventing a flood

Anatomy of Change


Overpriced basketball goals?

Jackstones/tetrapods or wavebreakers

Hot number 8888


Phone shop’s suspected robber apprehended

Pintuyan’s “Most Wanted” caught

Store merchandiser found dead in rented house


A Big Voice with a Big Heart

Tatay Mian celebrates 62nd birthday

There is forever for Estrella & Antonio


Abuse of priviledge

Online comments from netizens

Delayed salary of Bantay Dagat





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