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Negros Opinion

Courtesy: A Must

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There is one very essential trait that one should never overlook when attending a public forum or meeting of the minds especially where the supposedly learned and educated sectors of the community, especially when the topics or agenda are geared towards the benefit of the populace or the general welfare of the majority of people in a given community.

Greening of MassKara

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As you may know (may, because some of our readers living abroad may not know), since Oct. 1, and especially last week, we celebrated the MassKara Festival here in Bacolod. It was, for me, the best MassKara ever, for sundry reasons. But one reason that left me delighted long after the merrymaking was over, was the fact that this year, the environment was included, as opposed to ignored.

On Oct. 4 Mayor Monico Puentevella joined Gawad Kalinga in launching a “bayanihan” project called “Buligay”, designed for private citizens and organizations to do their share in uplifting the lives of the less fortunate in barangays. I wrote about this two weeks ago, so please refer to that piece by accessing the official website of the Negros Daily Bulletin, the newspaper that carries my column. Let me just underscore that one important mission area of “Buligay” is to teach residents in barangays how to segregate trash. Deputized to accomplish the gargantuan task are GK’s volunteer students who will be trained by the Bacolod Anti-Baha Alliance education team. Since the launch of the program, we in the Anti-Baha have met with Bobby Magalona, head of GK Negros. So, that was not photo-op at all. We’re moving on.

‘Leonardia Took the Heart and Soul of MassKara’ - AAB Says

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Art Association of Bacolod (AAB) president Nunelucio Alvarado said in a recent interview, stated that, Congressman Evelio R. Leonardia should stop blaming and condemning other people at the height of the MassKara Festival celebration.

“Let’s stop nitpicking, blaming some politicians and instead do what we can to make the MassKara more enjoyable and successful. Politics has no place in a celebration that is supposed to be for the people, with the people and by the people,” said Alvarado.


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Indeed, what had been happening to the public treasuries of two cities and five municipalities in Negros Occidental for the past four or so months this year are "embarrassing", to say the least.

Embarrassing to whom? First, to the police forces in the Local Government Units (LGUs) involved, the city and municipal executives and the officials involved in safeguarding the safekeeping of funds that belong to the taxpayers and the entire bureaucracy.

No less than the Vice Governor of the province, Eugenio Jose "Bong" Lacson issued the statement with the tone of disappointment during an interview with media practitioners covering the provincial capitol, who have also been disturbed by the series of alarming instances of robberies and ransacking by robbers committing acts of burglary from the vaults of Escalante City, Bago City, the towns of Hinobaan, Cauayan, Calatrava, Valladolid and Moises Padilla.


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Before that, I congratulate the membership of the Association of Negros Producers for the successful staging of the 29th Negros Trade Fair in Glorietta from September 24 to 28. This annual event is the longest-running provincial trade fair held in Manila every year, but the latest edition is unlike any before. This year's theme, "Smiles Beyond Borders", was the altruistic response of the ANP to Typhoon Yolanda and the Bohol Earthquake, and the interrupted lives that trailed behind. ANP wanted to help, that's for sure, but instead of sending another mothballed sweater from the trunk, ANP designed something more proactive, one that could impact positively on the capacity of victims to get up and move on. Some ANP members outsourced labor to affected areas to jumpstart livelihoods, while others bought debris and upcycled these into raw materials. What could have been left as garbage in the landfill was gathered and incorporated in Christmas ornaments, fashion accessories, home furnishings, even rosaries made of felled wood from Tacloban. Truly, one person's trash is another's treasure. These types of raw materials and skilled labor are abundant and more accessible in Negros, but the call to go beyond borders was loud and clear. And then, what goes around comes around. The goodness that the ANP showed came back in the form of increased sales. In a report issued by the ANP leadership, this year's trade fair raked in P17 Million in sales, or P4 Million more than the previous year. See? It pays to be nice.

Another group that recently went beyond its borders, although in a different way, is Gawad Kalinga in Negros. Led by Bobby Magalona, the organization has in time expanded its work from building houses to delivering services to the greater barangay community. GK is able to do this with the help of student-volunteers from different schools. With this army of young, energetic do-gooders, Bobby met with me in mid-September to discuss the possibility of teaching trash segregation to barangays. I thought I died and went to heaven, honestly. Educating residents in barangays is the key to segregation at source (at home), prayed for by our national garbage management law, Republic Act 9003. After years of work in this advocacy, I believe that education is the biggest challenge of all, not only because it is hard to change habits formed out of convenience, such as not segregating trash, but more so because of the daunting task of teaching over a hundred million waste generators that live on these islands from sea to shining sea. That we in the Bacolod Anti-Baha Alliance do not have a crew to begin the task makes the offer of GK manna from heaven. Now, our job is to train student-volunteers how to teach segregation in barangays. Although we admit that peculiarities between barangays will require mutations in garbage management systems, we are determined to simplify the work into a five-step process without sacrificing correctness.


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