Typhoon Pepito failed to stop the celebration of the 76th Gulf Leyte Landing on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in honor of our heroes and American patriot Gen. Douglas MacArthur when they returned to the Philippines to defeat the Japanese invader during World War II.
Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla led the commemoration with several officials and local leaders to avoid mass gatherings and close contacts with people as imposed by the government to prevent from being contracted with the deadly coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic.
The once grand celebration is now just a simple one to be attended only by a few people as the entire rite is viewed through Facebook live streaming, Petilla said.
“This year’s celebration will not be as grand as it was in previous years where different socio-cultural activities are lined up days before the anniversary. But we should never forget this historic event, 76 years ago, to honor the valor of our heroes,” Petilla said.
The event started with a flag-raising ceremony, wreath-laying rites, and 21-gun salute, followed by the presentation of commemorative video messages of ambassadors from the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
“No foreign and national officials will be physically present, including the World War II (WWII) veterans, who are vulnerable especially this time of pandemic,” Petilla said.
According to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the region has 92 living WWII veterans, 50 in Leyte, 21 in Samar, 13 in Biliran and eight in Southern Leyte.
“What is important now is we honor and also pray for the heroes who fought for our freedom. Because of them, we learned how to fight and be brave, as we now face a battle against coronavirus,” the governor said.
SM gets P5B Baguio market project
SM Prime Holdings landed the P5 billion market project in Baguio City when Robinsons Mall failed to submit the technical documents which would have helped the city government assess its offer.
Earlier, Robinsons was granted the original proponent status (OPS) in August by a PPP for the People screening committee, which reviewed the two proposals.
Questions, however, were raised about the process when a screening committee member revealed that Robinsons had failed to supply the group with technical and engineering plans for the market buildings.
As a result, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong ordered a second review in September and had informed the committee this week about choosing SM instead.
The selection of SM was contested by residents who wanted the city government to finance the rehabilitation of the market instead of leasing the property to a corporate giant.
Another issue was a consortium of market vendors’ associations which claims that the group is ready to compete with SM for the market’s modernization using P1 billion of its assets, according to lawyer Zosimo Abratique, president of the Baguio Market Vendors’ Association.
The city government master plan for the project of connecting four market buildings, bridges and parks that would replace the worn-out and deteriorating public market requires P6 billion to fund the establishment.
The project, however, was dropped when a government finance team ruled that the cost was too high for the city government even if it secured a loan.
SM offered to spend P5.4 billion on a seven-story commercial building and leave two lower floors under city control to house the new Baguio market in a 50-year lease whereas Robinsons’ offer was to develop a market building and a separate retail building for P6 billion under a 50-year lease.
End to child marriage in Bangsamoro region sought
On Friday, Oct. 16, seven young mothers from Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur were the panelists in discussing the topic of “Ending Child Marriage” in Bangsamoro region during the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl held in Zamboanga City.
Bainon Karon, chairperson of Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC), said the occasion was to ventilate the welfare of the young girls and help the government to come up with policies or ordinances that address the early child marriage issues in the region.
According to one of the discussants, she was forced by her parents to marry at the age of 15 and admitted that it was difficult for her to become a young mother when she was not physically and emotionally prepared.
She said though it was hard at times but learned and overcame it for the sake of her children.
Based on her experience, she encouraged and motivated the youth to first focus on their education and secure a stable job prior to getting married.
Early marriage undermines child rights and derails future opportunities to include physical and mental abuse, and health risks for both mother and child, said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Abdulraof Macacua, executive secretary of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said the Bangsamoro government has to reaffirm its commitment to promote the welfare of young girls, and ensure that they are protected at all times, especially in these trying times.
“As we transition towards change, we should also be preparing the future leaders of the Bangsamoro,” he added.
BWC is committed to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights of Bangsamoro women and girls, along with child early and forced marriage issues, said Karon.
Captured crocodile named ‘Papa Dave’ is the largest?
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now validating if the saltwater crocodile named “Papa Dave” caught off the waters of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi on Wednesday, Oct. 14 is now the largest in the country among the crocodiles in captivity.
Crocodile Lolong, which was caught in the waters of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur on Sept. 3, 2011, was the largest crocodile in the world until the time of her death in February 2013 measuring 20 feet and 3 inches long.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-(MENRE-BARMM), a male reptile Papa Dave, was named after a man named Dave who saw her, was measured 17 feet and 11 inches long and is now in the custody of the Simunul municipal government in Papa Bull’s Park with no sign of injury or illness.
The park area is more or less 2,000 to 3,000 square meters swampy and muddy with mangroves which the crocodile can adapt easily as her habitat.
In 2017 fishermen of Simunul also caught a large reptile named “Papa Bull” measuring 16 feet and 11 inches, shorter in size to that of Papa Dave of which the park was named after her.
Papa Dave reptile is believed to have originated from the waters near Sabah, Malaysia and was caught at the waters off Taytay beach.
Based on research from the experts of Crocodylus Porosus Philippines, Inc. (CPPI) found out that Malaysia serves as a bridge for the crocodiles propagating in southern Palawan and traveling all the way to Tawi-Tawi.