Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

I was in Cebu last week (February 23-24). To learn more about the local politics, I bought two Cebu-based newspapers: Sunstar and Cebu Daily News (affiliated with the Inquirer). What did I discover?

1. Mayor Tommy Osmena vows to go after manufacturers of herbal medicines and “dubious” drugs which give “false hopes” to sick people. If elected congressman, he will investigate firms that sell drugs with no proven therapeutic value. What is his motivation? The family of his major election rival, Aton Guardo, is the owner of Osaka Iridology and manufacturer of Arthro drugs (remember Erap’s Arthro-Arthritis commercial?). Well, ganyan talaga siguro ang pulitika. Candidates always try to find something that can weaken their opponents, especially if business interests are involved.

2. Following the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, Cebu’s appointed officials/consultants who are running in the local elections are asked to immediately give up their posts. But like their national counterparts, some of them refuse to tender their resignations. Ang higpit ng kapit sa poder….

3. It is sad to read about the news of two teachers who were killed inside their classrooms in Argao.

4. Cebu’s major local party, Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan, is endorsing the Liberal Party. This is the same party which supported President Gloria Arroyo in 2004.

5. With a population of almost 50,000, Guadalupe is the biggest barangay in the whole Visayas. It is located in Cebu City. There is a proposal to split Guadalupe into 2-3 barangays. A referendum will take place this month.

6. Malapascua in Daanbantayan is being compared to the world-famous Boracay Island.

7. A fire in Sitio Tambisan in Tisa, Cebu City displaced hundreds of residents. Cebu Daily News reported that 500 houses were destroyed while Sunstar mentioned only 100 structures. Ano ba talaga?

8. Cebu City’s Palace of Justice has no elevator. The four-story building also has no clinic. A group of disabled individuals is complaining. Dapat lang.

9. Taxi operators are complaining that there are too many taxi units in Cebu City. There are 6,000 taxi units operating in the city. Baka wala lang pambayad ang mga tao kaya nawawalan ng pasahero ang mga taxi. More than 800,000 ang populasyon sa Cebu City; imposible namang magkulang sila ng pasahero. There is a rumor that Manny Pacquaio and Chavit Singson are the owners of the yellow cabs operating in Mactan Airport. Galit din dito ang mga taxi driver.

10. Marina administrator Elena Bautista has many enemies. Congressman Plaza delivered several speeches against the policies implemented by Ms. Bautista. Visayan shipowners are also unhappy with the recent regulations imposed by the Marina chief. They threatened to conduct a maritime holiday.


Our team visited UP Cebu High in the morning. We held a dialogue with faculty members about the proposal of the college dean to phase out the high school unit of UP Cebu. Last January, Kabataan Partylist filed a House resolution to inquire about this matter. I am grateful that Cebu lawmakers co-authored this resolution. It seems that the college dean is adamant in his plan to phase out UP Cebu High. The latest text update is positive: the Chancellor of UP in the Visayas is allowing the high school entrance examinations to proceed this month.

After lunch, our team went to the regional office of the Commission on Higher Education to inquire about the implementation of the CHED memorandum on the ‘flexible’ implementation of the controversial ‘No Permit, No Exam’ policy. It is good that CHED will soon monitor if schools are complying with the instructions specified in the memo. It is not good that it may take a few months before CHED can release a report. Paano yan, finals week na ngayon?

Our team paid a courtesy call to Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama and SK Federation city chair Rengelle N. Pelayo. Rama is a direct descendant of the late great Don Vicente Rama. He is also related to showbiz stage mom Anabelle Rama.

Siyempre kumain kami ng dinner sa larshan (unfortunately, commercialized na siya ngayon kaya mas mahal ang mga pagkain). Then we headed towards Barangay Busay and Tops Skyline. We also toured Cebu’s first Zip Line. It’s popular among tourists. Ang ganda ng view. Kita mo ang buong siyudad.

I spoke during the launching of the Youth for Rights group at Outpost bar. The event highlighted the need to inform the youth about their sexual and reproductive rights. Marami akong natutunan. We slept at the famous Talamban Eco-House owned by green crusader and city councilor Nestor Archival.

On February 24 I attended a meeting of our Lapu-Lapu City chapter. I delivered a talk on the 2010 elections at the Virgin de Regla Church in Lapu-Lapu. After lunch, we met some friends at Cebu Sports Club. Finally, I spoke during an assembly organized by the Youth Movement group in Tisa.

Our activities and campaigns were reported by the local TV and radio stations of GMA-7 and ABS-CBN. Thanks also to DYRF-AM 1215.

Related articles:

Naminghoy ming tanan
Cebu ASEAN Summit

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