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2018, some rewinds

Nora Soriño . 

ILIGAN City — By January 2018, the dust had somewhat settled over that siege at nearby Marawi City.  For it had  ended “officially” by October of the previous year, President DU30  had said. And of course, we believed him. Who didn’t?

But there were lingering feelings of doubt, of fear, of sadness, of discomfort, and the like. In a way, this city became the residence of not one, but two  cities as most of the Marawi folks displaced by that recent war, came to live here too. And even many of their offices operated here.

The mayor then gave the refugees  some sort of ultimatum or dates. That they must go back to where they had come from as there is no more war there.

But you can’t just pull out people, even if the mayor and the other city officials, and even the city folks felt that the welcome was already exhausted. It did not help any that some of those who triggered the war there were nabbed in this city.

Towards the middle of the year, the city officials had to face other concerns. Almost all of the Sangguniang Panlungsod members were ordered suspended by the Ombudsman.

So, suspended they were.

The middle of the year, too, shocked many parts of the world by the story that a football team and a coach were locked inside a cave in Thailand. To extract them out was very problematic as it was full of water and they were lodged in a ledge in some part of the cave. Everything was water.

The world watched with bated breath as experts began their rescue plan. Luckily, they were all extracted, with just one death on the part of those who helped them. Even a reporter here, a Nani Razo was able to report what happened there in Thailand. Blow by blow.

So, for a time, some attention were focused there outside our own world. The rescue was a drama in real life.

Back here in this city, there was talk of bringing back a lost glory that is the National Steel Corp.. Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz even talk of “banagbanag” or dawn. Some investor was really interested in reviving the mothballed NSC.

But Vera Cruz received flak instead from the unbelievers. In this world of “instances” as in instant coffee, instant food, instant whatsamacall, one is apt to “disbelieve.”

From time to time, too,we were focused on what happens at the national level. Like the then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez singing, “no-el.” It was not related with Christmas and every politician, national or local is afraid of it. Only those whose terms were about to end were welcoming it with “joy to the world.” He was ousted though as Speaker of the House by a lady in red, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but only after DU30’s Sona in July 23 because of some technicalities.

So, Alvarez was ousted by  that lady in red.

Gloria Arroyo claims she is an “Iliganon.” She claims she has spent her teenage years here in the city. Among others, her family has an ancestral home at Timoga.

There was drama in the ousting because there were questions of validity as to her taking over from Alvarez. Initially, of course, for she got the position finally. That was after DU30’s late late show of a Sona which, among others, delayed the signing of the BOL for a few days.

This is among the centerpieces of this administration, to note. And while we’re at it, at some “ousting,” I mean, let’s not forget the then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who was taken off from her pedestal by a weird term called “quo warranto.” (At least let’s credit some lawyers for being very “creative.”)

Over here in the city, Mayor Celso Regencia got suspended himself, again by the Ombudsman. I cannot count now how many suspensions the good mayor had. But it was the latest, a three-month suspension which ended first week of September.

The last quarter found many political creatures, in heat, both national and local. Gimmicks sprang from many sides of the political fence especially for those who had the finances. Regencia, et al., though saying that he “does not have money” is perceived to be awash with it. (Shades of “what are we in power for.”)

There’s that talk, too, that he and “Monsi” (Vera Cruz) would lose at some cock derby, to the tune of –ah, I won’t tell…

Not to be outdone in their getting the public aware of their “availability in serving the people earnestly,” the team of Cong. Frederick Siao, Marianito “Dodong” Alemania, et al., has come up with their own creative ways like hiring hacks to not let the public forget’ of what the present officials are doing with the peoples’ money which is far from ideal.  And this, my friends are either understatement or overstatement, if you know what I mean.

There are still many things that happened towards the end of the year or thereabouts like the disasters in Luzon in which several people were rescued and/or retrieved. Or in the Visayas, in Naga, Cebu where a similar thing happened — that is, people had to struggle with the landslides.

But they pale in comparison with what happened in Indonesia by Christmas time in which, by last counting, had 383 dying there. As for the injured they are still counting with Prime Minister Joko Widodo visiting the victims in various hospitals there.

And wait, America, mighty America, is struggling with its concerns,too. There’s a financial shutdown there of which President Donald Trump is at its center because of a wall that Trump dreams of to be built in the Mexican boarder if only to prevent millions of outsiders stepping into their American soil. And the US Congress balked at the cost: US$5 billion. Thus, Trump did not get his wall built which resulted in a partial federal shutdown directly affecting 800,000 government employees as they could no longer get their salaries as long as there is that damned shutdown.

And our own President Duterte? Reports say that towards the end of the year he was at his comfort zone in Davao even as his wars on several fronts continue, war on drugs, war vs. the NPA, war vs. we don’t or quite keep tag on them now. People too became very aware of the word inflation though they say it’s getting slower now. Earlier, the Chinese leader had proven that he and our own DU30 are chums indeed for he had come over to this land and with all the hospitality and funfare.

The year 2018 was therefore a colorful year, a challenging year as for many it was very bumpy.

But still, we look back to it with some regrets even as we anticipate what 2019 brings. Here’s wishing us all the luck this year!


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