POSTSCRIPT / November 27, 2005 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Abu, NPA simultaneous attacks are coordinated?

WAR ON 2 FRONTS: We are just a month away from Christmas, celebrating the nativity of the King of Peace.

Yet, this predominantly Christian country lies bleeding from the violence of secessionist and revolutionary wars raging in the countryside, in both north and south sections of the archipelago.

Down south, the military is engaged in massive search and destroy operations against the Abu Sayyaf outlaws supported by their secessionist brothers in faith hiding behind a supposed modus vivendi with the Arroyo administration.

In Luzon, particularly in the Aurora-Quezon area, troops are chasing communist New People’s Army guerrillas on the warpath, absorbing heavy casualties and sending thousand of innocent civilians streaming to evacuation centers.

Are the attacks of secessionists in Mindanao and the raids and ambushes by NPA fighters in Luzon coordinated to spread thin the men and materiel of the military grown soft over years of corruption and weak leadership?

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INNER TURMOIL: I will not report the casualty figures, especially on the dead on both sides, because the figures keep growing almost by the day. But even the casual newspaper reader will note the heavy toll in lives and property.

Without going overboard and alarming both native residents and foreign investors, the media should capture the moving picture and give us — including policy-makers — a complete, graphic presentation of the war jarring the peace of the countryside during this supposed season of grace.

The eternal question is how to end the protracted war that pits Filipinos against brother Filipinos. There is no ready answer to that.

There will always be war and violent conflict as long as there is inequity in our stratified society and as long as inner conflicts continue to wrench the heart of each one of us. War is just an extension of the turmoil within us.

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SM GIVES SIDE: The SM mall operators sent me Wednesday their reply to complaints of some Cavite residents regarding the attendant traffic mess and other problems in the vicinity of SM Molino mentioned in our POSTSCRIPT of Nov. 22.

Ms Annie S. Garcia, vice president for operations of SM Supermalls, said in a letter:

“Wherever we build a mall, we want to be part of the communities we serve, and look at ways and means to make shopping more convenient for our customers. Building a mall, after all, can be considered a work in progress and we closely coordinate with local authorities on how to make our services better.

“There were several points which your reader brought up in your “Molino Woes” write-up, and we would like to share with you some of the steps we have been taking to better serve our customers in Molino.

“1. Traffic Management. SM Supercenter Molino has been closely coordinating with the Cavite Traffic Management Office (CTMO) and the Bacoor Traffic Management Office on the enforcement of traffic regulations and plans within the immediate vicinity of SM Molino.

“We are happy to let you know that the local government has deployed additional traffic enforcers and SM has sought for and given the approval on the deputization of its security guards to assist traffic on the road network in front of our building.

“At present, SM and the municipal government are finalizing plans for the installation of an intersection traffic light, as well as a traffic enforcement booth, and additional streetlights. These are expected to be operational within the year.

“2. Road Network Improvement Program. Residents in the area can look forward to better and wider roads.

“DPWH is set to convert the existing Molino Blvd. from a two (2) into a six (6) lane highway throughout the entire stretch of Molino Blvd. At the moment, there are portions that have been converted into a four (4) lane highway.

“A similar road expansion is taking place in the Daang Hari area. The Villar Side already has a six (6) lane provision, while there is an ongoing construction on the Bacoor side to increase it from two (2) to four lanes. The latter will eventually have a six (6) lane provision when expropriation proceedings are resolved.

“There is also a proposal through the Office of the Municipal Government to expropriate and develop a portion of the land across SM Molino into a loading and unloading bay.

“3. Transport Terminal. For the convenience of our customers, we have included a transport terminal inside SM Supercenter Molino premises. This is also in support of local government efforts to curb the proliferation of guerilla terminals on main thoroughfares causing traffic. Our cooperation with local traffic enforcers has resulted in a well coordinated traffic flow.

“4. Water Supply. SM has embarked on a tertiary water supply system to in support of the DENR’s environment protection and welfare program.

“This water conservation program entails the re-use of water in the comfort rooms and kitchens of the mall tenants. The waste water is treated and treated and re-used for our airconditioning system and our comfort rooms. These, incidentally, comprise two thirds of our mall water supply requirements. Being self sufficient in our water supply, we do not affect those of the residents beside our malls.

“5. Telecom Provisions. Mr. Aries Sayson, Head of Corporate Sales for Innove communications assured us that Globelines have so much provisions in the Molino area that these are envisioned to serve the telecom requirements for the next three years. Because of the special telecommunications requirements of the mall, PLDT has also to run a dedicated Fiber Optic line provision coming from a main PLDT hub.

“We hope that this will clarify the points you have brought up, and let you know the steps we are taking to better serve our shoppers within the area.”

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PANGANIBAN BOOK: Judicial Renaissance, the newest book of Supreme Court Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, will be launched tomorrow during the opening of the International Conference and Showcase on Judicial Reform at the Makati Shangri-la hotel.

Described by Justice Antonio T. Carpio as “undoubtedly the most prolific writer of the Court, bar none,” Panganiban has written in the last 10 years more than 1,000 full-length decisions, 10 books and several thousands of minute resolutions disposing of controversies brought before the tribunal.

His latest book discusses the high court’s action program for judicial reform. It is expected to take center stage during the international conference.

Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. said in his foreword to the book: “Justice Panganiban’s great gift is his passion for advocacy. Indeed, he has championed the APJR (Action Program for Judicial Reform), including his chairing of an International Conference and Showcase on Judicial Reforms.”

Panganiban is the concurrent chairman of the court’s Third Division and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, as well as of seven SC committees involved in judicial reform.

Describing his “mental dexterity,” Davide said Panganiban “extricates the possible from the hypothetical, the emerging from the established, the literature in science, and the law in art.”

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TATAD NOTES: It is amazing how Francisco “Kit” Tatad, a former newsman and senator, gathered detailed information on the movement of former poll official Virgilio Garcillano after his return to Mindanao last week from a four-month absence.

Tatad told a media forum in Quezon City that Garcillano, upon his return, had meetings in various places with several officials, some of whom were carrying voluminous documents.

One of his sources, he said, was an individual on the same plane that Garcillano took from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, to Zamboanga City. Investigators should invite Tatad to share his information.

Tatad distributed a document chronicling Garcillano’s activities from the time he left the country to Saturday morning. The document detailed what Garcillano and his companions rode, the vehicles’ license plate numbers and what he was wearing in each sighting.

He said Garcillano slipped to Kota Kinabalu via Subic Air Lear jet on June 19, and returned Nov. 18 aboard a South Phoenix flight SN 185 (a 48-seater). His name was not on the passenger manifest.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 27, 2005)

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