The Top 10 Ilocanos for 2013

Unlike last year’s inaugural list dominated by politicians, this year’s is a more interesting mix of personas who have made a significant dent in their respective spheres of influence. The youngest is 21 while the most senior, actually the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award which we are introducing this year, is seventy something. Among the Top Ten, there are more male awardees, 8. Nine are based in Ilocos while one is a US migrant.

As chair of the selection committee, let me invite you to meet the Top 10 Ilocanos for 2013 picked by the Editorial Board of The Ilocos Times, the oldest and most read newspaper in the North.

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(In alphabetical order)

Continue reading “The Top 10 Ilocanos for 2013”

Battle for Laoag: Roger the Crusader vs ‘Sweet’ Chevylle

(The Ilocos Times and riknakem.net are embarking on a voter information campaign dubbed “Keddeng ti Umili 2013”. In this issue, we are featuring the mayoralty candidates in Laoag City. News articles on the interviews, conducted mainly by your karikna, are published in the paper.)

She is sugar, spice, and everything nice. She answers even the most controversial questions but knows how to get though them unscathed. She pledges to speak ill of no one, even if her main political opponent is having a field day throwing mud.

He is stiff and stern. It is not difficult to be afraid of him. And having a reputation of literally slapping people, which he does not categorically deny, is of no help. But he came prepared for the interview, bringing with him documents proving that the current administration led by his nephew is anything but sugar, spice, and everything nice.

chevylle roger

It has happened elsewhere, family members torn widely apart by politics, but we did not see it coming here in Laoag City. The Fariñas Family has always seemed close-knit and formidable until now. There was hope against hope that they would resolve their issues among themselves, but in politics, dear karikna, hope has its limits. And so it has come to this.

Roger accuses the couple—Mayor Michael and ABC President Chevylle—of corruption and ill-gotten wealth. He cites a newly constructed house, which he values at 80 million pesos, condominium units in Manila, and luxury cars, among others, as proof of shenanigans. He decries the deterioration of peace and order, overpriced but losing government ventures such as the Laoag City General Hospital, and dirty public spaces which was unseen of during his term when the Laoag first gained fame as the Philippines’cleanest and greenest component city .

roger with me

To all these, Chevylle has ready answers. In her husband’s nine-year stint, she says, Laoag City has reaped various recognitions, including the ‘Seal of Good Housekeeping’ from the Department of Interior and Local Government. She argued that “If there was corruption, it would have been known because the ‘seal’ guarantees efficiency and transparency in governance.” She says their house, located at Brgy. Vira in the city’s outskirts, costs only eight million pesos at most while denying other properties Roger asserts they have amassed. While enumerating their various businesses which contribute to their family income, this advertising graduate of Miriam College says she is not materialistic and is content with a simple lifestyle. She proceeds to show a crucifix pendant, a gift from his late father, which she says is her main piece of jewelry. Continue reading “Battle for Laoag: Roger the Crusader vs ‘Sweet’ Chevylle”

Our Ilocos, Our Time: The new Ilocos Times

Thank God, the Mayans were wrong after all. It is August 2012 as I write this, and the world has not come to an end. At least, not yet.

And we here at The Ilocos Times are taking this golden opportunity for a renaissance of sorts. Let’s admit it, while the paper, oldest in this part of the universe, remains the most legitimate paper here, much of what it could, much of what it should be remains unrealized. And it cannot but keep up with the changing times, lest the Mayans be proven right, at least in the case of The Ilocos Times.

Newspapers aroud the world are in peril of extinction in this age of Internet and digital boom. Print circulation has suffered as demand for news in real time has forever changed the media landscape. Note that the paper’s ilocostimes.com, which debuted in 2000, was one of the country’s first websites offering local news. The website brought a lot of joy to Ilocanos, especially to those who are in Diaspora beset by homesickness.

Somewhere along the way, however, the website faltered, with uploads coming in as sporadic and unpredictable as menopause. Also, in the past half decade, only the paper’s pdf file was being uploaded. Readers would frequently visit the site only to find an outdated issue still posted, and new ones waiting to be uploaded no one knows when.

On the first day of Christmas in the Philippines, September 1, all these will change, hopefully. The new ilocostimes.net (take note, dear karikna, it is .net now replacing .com) will serve Ilocanos in better and bigger ways. Expect breaking news, more interesting features, and even more incisive editorials and opinion. Also, the website is linked up with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter which will allow readers, not only to access, but share information as well. The Ilocos Times Facebook page, which took off barely three weeks ago, now has a weekly reach of over 10,000 netizens. So, it’s Ilocos Sometimes no more, but Ilocos now, Ilocos always, Ilocos all-the-time with the new website.

But it’s not all technology, dear karikna, the paper’s biggest asset remains its rich human resource. Continue reading “Our Ilocos, Our Time: The new Ilocos Times”

My mom’s Letter to the Editor: In defense of Bishop Utleg

I wish to take exception to Herdy La. Yumul’s column titled “Utlegged”, published in the other week’s issue of your respectable newspaper. While I support the young writer, who happens to be my son, in all of his undertakings, his rather harsh commentary on Bishop Sergio Lasam Utleg is something I do not approve of. In fact, I found myself weeping a lot because of the grief and agony the article gave me.

As a church volunteer, I have always known Bishop Utleg as an honorable person and a respectable church leader. He is humble and kind, caring and nurturing.  I appreciate very much that he sacrificed his whole life in the service of God’s people. I, my family, and many other churchgoers attest to his vast contributions in nurturing the spiritual lives of his constituents, and in helping uplift the lives of the poor and the oppressed. No doubt, he is well loved and well admired by his flock. Continue reading “My mom’s Letter to the Editor: In defense of Bishop Utleg”