Manuel L. Quezon

manuel.jpgCOMMEMORATION. Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Southern Luzon Command Chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Governor Rafael Nantes offer a wreath at the bronze monument of President Manuel L. Quezon at the Perez Park in Lucena City in commemoration of his 129th birth anniversary. INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON/DELFIN MALLARI


Soldier’s Casket

casket.jpgHEARTBREAK DUTY. Army soldiers carry the casket of a fallen comrade being accorded military honors at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City.

Dead teacher, poll watcher given honors

By Juliet Labog-Javellana
Last updated 06:53am (Mla time) 08/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines — A teacher and a poll watcher, who died in a school torched by policemen in Taysan town in Batangas province in May, have been posthumously conferred the Order of the Golden Heart by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


The award, one of the highest honors given by the government to civilians, was conferred on Nelly Banaag, for 22 years a teacher at the Pinagbayanan Elementary School, and poll watcher Leticia Ramos, “in recognition of their courage and sacrifice in defending the sanctity of the ballot.”


It was received by their respective widowers and children.


Banaag and Ramos, now considered heroes of the May 14 elections, were trapped and died in one of the classrooms that were razed at dawn of May 15, just as the teachers had finished canvassing the votes.


The torched school was subsequently named in Banaag’s honor.


Special Operations Group


Ms Arroyo and Education Secretary Jesli Lapus traveled to Taysan on May 18 to attend the necrological rites for Banaag and Ramos and to extend financial benefits to their families.


During her visit, Ms Arroyo ordered Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon to ensure swift justice for the two women by filing charges against the masked men who had fired their guns and set the school ablaze.


The men, believed to be members of the PNP Regional Special Operations Group in Batangas, were linked to reelectionist Mayor Hernando Villena of Taysan.


Calderon earlier identified the suspects as Chief Insp. Robert Marinda, head of the RSOG team in Batangas, and his deputy, Senior Police Officer 2 William Relos, and three other RSOG members.




He said in May that Villena, who had failed to win reelection, was considered a suspect for being the possible mastermind.


Banaag’s family received close to P600,000 in insurance benefits and financial assistance from the Department of Education, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Government Service Insurance System.


During the necrological services, a GSIS official gave Banaag’s family about P262,000, representing the partial payment for her life insurance and survivorship benefits. The official said the family would also receive a monthly pension of P4,100.


Lapus gave P200,000 as life insurance, and P50,000 and P20,000 from the central and regional DepEd offices, respectively.


Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral also gave an unspecified amount as DSWD assistance.


hero.jpgMY HERO. Pres Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo talks to PFC Moneth John Daniel, one of the Marines wounded in the July 10 clash in Basilan in which 14 troops died, as AFP chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr looks on at the hospital in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. Arroyo presided over a command conference to discuss government moves against the Marines’ attackers and eventually decided to stay any offensives against MILF guerrillas accused of beheading 10 of the slain troops to give way to a fact-finding mission. AFP/THERENCE KOH

One for the books: Boy lost life saving 4 kids

Heroism in Pagoda tragedy By Carmela Reyes
Last updated 01:51am (Mla time) 07/20/2007

BOCAUE, BULACAN — The 13-year-old boy who died while saving four children from drowning after a pagoda sank during fluvial festivities here on July 8, 1993, has been hailed as a modern hero in a newly published school textbook.


Sajid Bulig, an elementary school student, is remembered for his bravery and heroism when he saved the children during the Krus sa Wawa feast, in what came to be known as the “Pagoda Tragedy,” according to the book “Ang Lahing Pilipino sa Nagbabagong Panahon” written by Ela Rose Sablaon and Lazelle Rose Pelingo.


According to the book, which is written in Filipino, “A pagoda vessel ferrying many passengers sank during the 1993 annual Pagoda festival in Bocaue. Sajid was among the 279 fatalities of that accident. He died after rescuing four children from drowning.”
The book, which was published in February 2007 by Rex Bookstore, is used as a textbook for Sibika classes in private and public elementary schools.


Uanjiza Mercado, Sajid’s sister who teaches computer courses at St. Paul Catholic School here, said her brother made the family proud every time the town celebrates the annual Krus sa Wawa festivities.


Bulig’s story of heroism is found in a chapter on the “Mga Huwarang Filipino” under the topic “Mga Makabagong Bayani.”


“I am glad that many of our children are interested in Sajid’s life and the good things he did. He serves as a real model for the youth today,” Mercado told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of


Edna Zerrudo, Department of Education’s schools division superintendent in Bulacan province, said the book was a good educational tool that teachers can use to teach students about Bulig’s bravery and heroism.


Jamil Mercado, 9, a Grade 3 pupil at St. Paul Catholic School who uses the book in her Sibika class, said many of her classmates looked up to Sajid as a young hero. Sajid is also Mercado’s uncle.


In July 2002, the Kapatiran ng Birheng Presentacion from the City of Malolos and its affiliated groups built in Barangay Bambang here a monument of Bulig carrying on his arms a small child.


Erlinda Bulig, Sajid’s mother, said she and her family had been offering prayers and flowers at the monument and his tomb at the Bambang cemetery every July 8.


Following the boat tragedy, festivities were suspended from 1994 to 1999 but resumed in 2000 with less fanfare.

Marines killed in Basilan

marines.jpgOUR HUSBANDS, OUR SONS. Relatives of the 14 Marines killed in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan stand by their caskets during the heroes’ welcome for them at Villamor Airbase. The bodies arrived this afternoon via a C-130 military plane. LYN RILLON

3 Filipinos killed in Abu Dhabi road accident
Last updated 11:44am (Mla time) 06/20/2007uae.gif

MANILA, Philippines — Three Filipinos have died in a road accident in Abu Dhabi, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said in a statement to media.


Quoting Libran N. Cabactulan, Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the DFA said that brothers Jay-Ar and Emanuel de San Jose and Emanuel’s wife Charmaine were crossing the Sinaiyah road on their way to the St. Mary’s Church in Al Ain when they were hit by a car driven by a 19-year-old UAE national last June 14.


The two brothers died on the spot while Charmaine was still alive when she was brought to Al Jimi Hospital, where she died despite doctors’ efforts to save her, the DFA said.


Upon learning of the accident, Ambassador Cabactulan sent Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) Officer Carlito Dizon to Al Ain to help the brothers’ mother, who is also a worker there, the DFA said.


The mother has been admitted to the Al Jimi Psychiatric Department due to shock over the untimely deaths of her two sons and daughter-in-law, the DFA said.


The driver of the car was also admitted to the Tawam Hospital in Al Ain after suffering from shock. He is under police custody, the DFA said quoting Cabactulan.


Emanuel de San Jose was working in a trading company in Dubai; his wife Charmaine was newly hired by an advertising agency in Al Ain; and Jay-Ar was a holder of a visit visa in Dubai, the DFA said.


The Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) continues to extend assistance to the victims’ family, the DFA said.