Utang na Loob

ELECTION PERODS are always of great interest to social observers. The ballot reflects the people’s frame of mind, their values, their hopes and fears, and even their resignation to fate. What candidates do to win votes also tells a lot about the level of our political maturity.

Observing elections in the Philippines is both exciting and frustrating. Exciting because, by and at large, campaigns are run like a circus, but frustrating, too, because we observe how painfully slow we move, if at all, towards clean, honest, credible, and enlightened elections.

Ilocos Norte politics is sizzling hot at this time, what with two Marcoses gunning for the gubernatorial post.

Former 2nd District Representative Imee Marcos, daughter of the late president, is up against her cousin, incumbent governor Michael Marcos Keon (MMK).

The Imee camp is reportedly raising the issue of “Utang na Loob” against MMK, who previously enjoyed the support of the Marcoses, especially in 2007 when he ran for and won the governor’s post previously held by now congressman Bongbong Marcos, who is running for a senate seat. Continue reading “Utang na Loob”


IT IS A MOST MEANINGFUL coincidence, dear karikna, that MMSU’s yearly foundation anniversary celebration comes right after the holiday season. After we would have opened and used up our gifts during the Christmas and the New Year, we appreciate yet another gift, one that is grand and lasting, one that is a great source of pride for all of us in Ilocandia—the gift of Mariano Marcos State University.

    Last Jan. 6-7, we commemorated the granting of a charter, 32 years ago, to MMSU. A person who turns 32 is often teased: You are old. In Iluko, ‘awan kan iti kalendaryo’. The age marks the dawn of maturity.

    Although we are still young compared to other academic institutions, we have steadily established our reputation as a model of progress in the North, and in the nation. Such distinction was not served on a silver platter, but was attained through collective commitment and synergy.

    One of the highlights of the Foundation Anniversary Celebrations is President Miriam E. Pascua’s State of the University Address or SOUA.


    Here are a few excerpts of the 32-page speech delivered in almost an hour before an applauding audience.

  Continue reading “SOUA”

Brilliant Neric, dull Noynoy

Your karikna with teacher Neric Acosta (middle), and Steve Barreiro

AT THE END of my work week, I usually drop by Goro’s in Batac (City, finally!), all by my lonesome, and enjoy a bottle of beer or two before going home to Laoag. And that’s what I exactly did in the afternoon of December 29, the last working day of 2009.

I was halfway through my first bottle of SanMig Light when I received a phone call from fellow columnist Steve Barreiro. He asked me if I have time to meet someone I would surely find interesting. “He is a teacher like you,” Steve said, “and he is a senatoriable.”

Good old Steve was referring to Liberal Party’s Neric Acosta who was in town to grace the Damili festival of San Nicolas from where the latter traces his paternal roots. Of course, I know the guy. “Yes, I am coming,” I told Steve, although it was a half-hearted yes because I did not want to abruptly end my weekly date with myself. Continue reading “Brilliant Neric, dull Noynoy”