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3rd CVS Oratorical Cup

Posted by bong on October 12, 2008

 That President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo

should not seek re-election in

2004 national election*



Honorable members of the board of judges,

Ladies and gentlemen:



          Once again, we are witnessing a crossroad in our nation’ destiny. On top of various political developments now current in our system, there’s one that seems hanging as a Damoclean Sword or maybe a past time puzzle among political pundits of our time.


          Is Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo running in the 2004 national elections?


Ladies and gentlemen, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo SHOULD NOT SEEK REELECTION IN 2004 NATIONAL ELECTION.


          Ours is undeniably a unique political history. We have ample breakthroughs in politics that are district from the rest of the world. Some say, it’s our way of life. Or, are we just that – we live and die in politics, indulge so much in it or perceive it largely as means of power than service?


          From colonial times, from our independence, until the age of tyranny and the dawn of Dictatorship, from the turbulent 70’s, from the first People Power in EDSA, from the overthrow in EDSA DOS, from the foiled EDSA TRES which trickled down to recent military mutiny in Oakwood; all of these partake in our nation’s political growth which somehow instill national consciousness.


          Whether we have transcended boundaries of politics to more tangible terms of social reform and equity remains a tall question worthy of everyone’s concern.


          That is why, we are put in the balance as to the President’s real word of seeking presidential seat through an election in 2004 or not. That’s why, we are kept bombarded with multi-faceted speculations in media and various public forums as to the President’s intent in politics come 2004.


          But the President stated earlier her firm position not to run in 2004.


          Every right thinking Filipino who values word of honor and delicadeza need not really place it as an issue of prime importance. But with the strangeness of our entire political system, and at the rate things are going on around the President’s seat of power, events maybe are ripe refuting the President’s earlier position not to run.


          National papers even quoted a LAKAS spokesman providing implications of the President’s SONA as hint of going beyond her current term towards 2004. But that remains to be seen, as the President has stood pat in her orders to stop talking about her political plans. With this alone, we believe and it should really be, that the President will finally bow out in 2004.


          President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not run in the 2004 presidential elections.


That is her promise to the Filipino people in that fateful Rizal Day. Let it be so. And let it be a legacy in our nation’s colorful political history.


          Otherwise, we shall be kept hostage in the deep dilemma whether the President who once failed in a promise would keep a cohesive people and country or steer our course in an atmosphere of trust and unity. The serious repercussions of a broken promise will create ripples in our supposedly calm and halcyon voyage towards progress after 2004.


          This will beget so much divisiveness and social unrest.


          At stake is the staging of a better economy and stature from the rest of the world.


          While the President’s urgent concerns have significant relations in addressing social reforms, breach in political statements have to be shun to help unburden an already ailing society.


          We commend the President’s firm stand to be at war: “At war against corruption, at war against disease, at war against drug, the greatest menace facing our country today.” And on the issues lodged against her administration by the young officers in Oakwood, the President judging from the genuine reasons of their uprising; had constituted an independent commission to “investigate the roots of the mutiny and the provocation that inspired it.”


          Good. But a stable government which is not born out of conflict and so much power play could be better off as staging point of these reforms. Stability is the key step to spur economic progress and bind our people.


          Letting the President break her promise will definitely meet its toll of economic and social disaster after 2004. It will be graver should she wins the seat. We had already met EDSA TRES. We had already put our nation in a brink of chaos in the latest coup attempt. Let us give our people a fresh political reality after 2004.  Enough of adding another pain in an already wounded nation.


          We intend to build a strong republic. Better said than done when our leaders unceasingly refuse to learn from realities around. When the self superimpose general welfare and politics is reduced as mere reason for self aggrandizement, there could be no hope to achieve a stronger republic for our children.


          We are better off strange, not strong when we pursue political moves that would jeopardize our future and socio-political stability.


          Friends, let us heed President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo’s word of not intending to seek the Presidential seat in 2004. It is her own and extreme sense of self and political sacrifice as she publicly declared such. Let no one of us induce a bleak political persuasion that would erode people’s trust and confidence over the President’s statement.


          President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo should not run in 2004 presidential elections.


          We believe in brilliant potentials of Pinoys. No one holds an exclusive and messianic right over this country’s march to the future. We should encourage a dynamic political change and break traditions of patronage and perpetuation.


The time for us now suits the temperament of stirring national re-awaking and self- contemplation on citizenship. The deepening political rifts, the backsliding economy, the growing phenomenon of poverty and corruption, the breakdown of morality, a mediocre bureaucracy – – all these are symptoms of our social malaise that have been passed on from one generation to another.


          Our social conscience requires that we preclude motives of personal, political gains.


          It’s time we share a collective idea of regulating selfish political interest. The task at hand is of the essence. Too much politics will degenerate our genuine development efforts. Less of it will do.


          Think of a number of street children walking on our busy districts. Think of a number of our farmers who still wallow in so much deprivation and neglect from basic services. Think of a number of professionals reduced to mere household helps abroad for want of opportunities at home. Think of a number of urban poor still squatting in the metropolis. Think of how strange our government affairs and politics are run. Think of us now. Where are we in our quest for better life?


Don’t blame the government. Don’t blame the President. Don’t blame the church, either. Don’t blame the terrorists. We are what we are. Our collective decision as a people makes up for what we are now.


          We should reduce our social miseries in our concerted resolve to do it. Together, we can make or unmake our own destiny. This is a critical opportunity called upon us to reflect on.


          The President has remained in her promise not to run. It is good, as she believes it is so in the interest of national welfare. So let it be, if we would see a strong republic today and beyond our times!






The Third Staging

November 14, 2003, 2:00 p.m.

Capitol Dome, Provincial capitol

Virac, Catanduanes

















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4th CVS Oratorical Cup

Posted by bong on October 12, 2008

That The People Get the Kind of Leaders They Deserve*


Honorable members of the Board of Judges,

 Ladies and Gentlemen:


The people get the kind of leaders they deserve.


Elections are over. Finally. Or at least for now. We have chosen, in a fashion of “vox populi” and accorded responsibility of public office to those whom we believe to be so.


          The people had shown their choice in the ballots. This sacred right which gains for us the right for decent living and prosperity in the next days  ahead remains to be challenged in the light of how we conduct ourselves as electorates.


          The last elections were riddled with much promise of transformation, of energizing the bureaucracy and alleviating poverty. Unity had become a catchword and reconciliation had been a vision among emerging leaders of our time.


          Whether this rhetoric of campaign would translate itself into realities of change would still need to be seen in the light of our socio-economic and political maturity.


          The people really get the kind of leaders they deserve.


          Look at us. Look around you and you will see the answer as gleaned from present day affairs.


          Last elections epitomized the decline of electoral conscience. We were deluged with false hopes, incredible alliance and promises, and worse, vote buying and selling.


          This is democracy in action. Everybody has the right of his own. Have we gained so much of democracy and free will to infringe the right to just and moral order? Absolute freedom may not be freedom at all. It brings us indomitable woes and perverted ways.

The call to sanctity of votes has gone to oblivion and instead relegated itself to mere fashion of the odd and the olds.


     The people get the kind of leaders they deserve.


          When we complain of so much misery, we blame the government. When we complain of so much poverty which has skyrocketed to alarming proportions, we blame the government. When we complain of not enough support services delivery, we blame the government. When we complain of so much inequities, corruption and patronage, we blame the government. When we complain of so many killings in the streets, of terrors and crimes, we blame the government. When we complain of not enough laws to protect our rights, we blame the government.


The people get the kind of leaders they deserve.


The leaders whom we elected to office precisely know the moral benchmark of electorates.  The lower it is, the better for theme to perpetuate in power through selfish means.


          Money, popularity and strong political resource have been the gauge of public office. The more you have them, the better chances of leading this country. The less you have them, the dimmer you get your mandate.


          It is a sad reality that we face. That’s why we have to contend with un-schooled actors, actresses or a tandem of mother – son, father-daughter, father – son, in-laws and siblings all in one setting being elected to office in a simultaneous fashion. Leadership has gone down to mere commodity being passed on to favored successors in power.


          The electorates know this. But they have never learned. They care less whether they have something to bring about the social alleviation of the poor. They care more whether they have popular value, whether they can dance, act and make you laugh on stage. They care whether they can spend much in the campaigns and buy votes; not whether they can dispense principled governance of a servant-leader.


     The people get the kind of leaders they deserve.


The insensitivity of governance to rule out poverty and a host of so many social ills in the country is a picture of how far have we gone as electorates. We can never blame others but ourselves in getting the miseries that we are in.


          When we allow to be bought in the same manner that we sell our right to choose the best and the principled, we surrender our vision to put forward a better government and a better life for all.


          When we allow to be bought and in the same manner sell our right to choose the best and the principled, we forget our relief from vicious cycle of poverty and neglect.


          When we allow to be bought and in the same manner sell our right to choose the best and the principled, we take the side of terror, injustice and corruption to reign.


When we allow to be bought and in the same manner sell our right to choose the best and the principled, we recognize passivity and mediocrity and thus help steer this country in utter failure and chaos.


The people get the kind of leaders they deserve.


We had our lessons. We had gone through several uprisings in EDSA. Lest we repeat history, the time calls for us to take an active citizenship as partners of development.


          The time calls for us not to wait as passive bystanders and resign on our limitedness. Our joint advocacy and participation by not allowing inequities right at the start of electing our public officials must be made alive. It must be a living witness to our vision in ushering in a new generation of Filipinos who still believe in the future of this country.


          Together we can do it: or have we resigned to our fate?




*4th Staging







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5th CVS Oratorical Cup

Posted by bong on October 12, 2008

What can we do to enhance the socio-economic

potentials of Catanduanes*


          Catanduanes. The province we love so dearly as a gem afloat in the eastern pacific. Behold such mystic beauty, such serenity that brings fusion of colors, sounds and tastes.


          Honorable members of the board of judges, fellow contestants, friends, ladies and gentlemen:


          It is indeed an inspiration to speak of what we can do to enhance the socio-economic potentials of Catanduanes– an island province we so dearly love and cherish; amidst the many challenges of times.


          Catanduanes is an island paradise. As a Catandunganon myself, there can never be other place like home, where my dreams, my aspirations and deeper longing of communion with nature and the Divine could be fleshed to life except in this beloved province.


          Let the flame of love and life that we cherish for Catanduanes continue burning in our hearts until the ends of time!


          Therefore, as a fitting part of our earnest desire to make Catanduanes one of the most promising economies in the Bicol bloc, it concerns us so much of our deep awareness of how we could harness existing conditions and resources for development.


          As a lush island of mountains and water, potentials abound when tapped rightfully to the utmost benefit of our people.


          What can we do to enhance the socio-economic potentials of our province?


          At present, the province has for its vision that “in the third millennium, Catanduanes is an ecologically stable community enjoying social amenities, peace and equity under a vibrant economy.” Its goal include: Develop human resource, sustainably managed physical resources, adequate infrastructure support, and vibrant economy.


     Are we heading for this?


          If we try to delve deeper into the issue of development, there’s much yearning and aiming just as there’s so much yet to be done. Yes, poverty still persists in our local communities. Deprivation and neglect are prevalent in the farming areas where even support services delivery and interventions do not trickle as much as they could to the least of our poor beneficiaries.


          The sorry state of our majority rural communities in the far-flung areas, and the high rate of out-migration year in, and year out tell us a classic state of hopelessness; or perhaps lack of opportunities at home.


          Politics, as it seems, has generated into a popular advocacy rather than quality leadership. It has therefore opened the floodgates for opportunism, for cheap gimmickry and propaganda for sustained power hold. Its semblance with trade and make-believe to lure people towards passivity poses an imminent danger for our options towards development.


          The dogged tenacity and mediocrity of initiatives among our local communities which spur less motivation and drive to economic excellence may continue to haunt our march to progress.


          And so, what can we do to enhance the socio-economic potentials of Catanduanes.


          In the face of seemingly insurmountable challenge of development, what can we do to re-direct our path and change the course of our development agenda? What do we have, despite the odds, to combat distressing poverty in the local communities?


We have so much to do; and we can do so much.


Given the right agenda and directions, our province with its numerous potentials in socio-economic factors, could take a dramatic leap to uplift the living conditions of its people.


With all its limitations, we can provide an impetus to move forward and use these potentials for development today and for posterity.


          The richness of our Catandungan culture, religiosity and positive social norms and habit that are typically Catandunganon, could be our lifeblood to forge a concerted effort to re-direct our perspective and options. It is our foundation by which unity could be truly harnessed as an essential hub our development agenda.


          The need for a sustained advocacy for the poor must not entail pure rhetoric, but must be fully translated into a language of policy of governance. Our people have much to share. We have the right intellectual base to spur growth. We need to tap our energies in the local levels and give them the right incentives and agenda. We need to track down the real poverty sectors, and demand technical tools in doing so.


          We should develop community capacities and empower them as partners of socio-economic development, not just as recipient of political gains. Our people can do that. Our people can rise to the challenge, given the right climate of governance and directions.


Our province beyond its isolation in the eastern seas, could offer much of its raw and majestic beauty to the rest of the world through enhancing its tourism base. Catanduanes has an excellent resource for eco-tourism ventures. Where Boracay, Dakak, El Nido, and other destinations around the archipelago excel, Catanduanes can do so much if we extend our planning horizons and creativity, tap external partners, and utilize local energies.


          Tourism in Catanduanes promises a bright opportunity and income generation boost in the local communities. There’s no time to be pessimist. There’s no way to be by-standers. There’s only everyone’s accountability to move our province onward at this point.


          We have to manage our framework of governance towards sustainable development with parameters on preserving the balance of inter-play among political, socio-ecological and economic condition. This agenda, if we need to enhance our capacities for growth, must be viably integrated in the decision-making structures and processes of our local government.


          Interventions must create an enabling economic environment, improve conditions for employment, productivity and income and invest in human development.


          Critical and strategic concerns must also be considered in the face of resource potentials especially in the agriculture sector.


          Our province is predominantly agricultural, with three fourths of its arable lands devoted to abaca, lasa, coconut and rice crops. There is therefore an overriding concern to drive our current thrust from this strength; with abaca being a “commodity champion” and top revenue earner for Catanduanes.


          Our local commodities and their organized farming groups are strong base that should be fully capacitated, mobilized and given the right investment climate to address agricultural productivity, food sufficiency and income generation. Improving farming technologies and creating less oppressive market networks for our farmer producers could lessen staggering incidence of poverty and deprivation.


          Lowland, agriculture and urban ecosystem must be effectively managed and implemented tapping the right socio-economic condition of our province. Land use policies, agrarian reform, food security, sustainable agriculture and efficient urban administration are key issues that must be addressed in ushering in a new direction for socio-economic development of Catanduanes.


          Above all, a far reaching educational revolution in Catanduanes must be sustained to the point of excellence. It must be flexible, adaptive and within reach of every Catandunganon. Education is power, and once unleashed, it would help rationalize the integration of socio-economic concerns into our own development agenda.


          Friends, with this vision for a progressive Catanduanes , we can never go wrong if we learn to dismantle the myth of our own hopelessness and incapacities. The road towards development is narrow, but the opportunities are within reach. They are within us.


          We have the right socio-economic potentials. They must be harnessed indeed, and from there, we must believe in goodwill that resides in every Catandunganon’s heart.


We can do it.


In our quest for development, let God be our guide, our economically principled governance be our strength, and our communities be our source of hope. Lest we forget; still, our people are not the problem, but the means to a solution.




VG Cesar Sarmiento Oratorical Cup

(5th Staging)


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6th CVS Oratorical Cup

Posted by bong on October 12, 2008

“Illegal Logging in Catanduanes: Can it be stopped”*


Honorable members of the Board of judges,

Fellow contestants, Ladies and Gentlemen:


     God sees the truth but waits.


          Yes, indeed. If you, my friends, would dare ask mo now how much of our natural resources have been left for us and for our posterity in Catanduanes, I would still beam with pride and brightness.


          Apart from the seemingly wanton disarray of ecology in some parts of the globe, and even in our country, I should say that Catanduanes is still doubly blessed with the bounty of Mother Nature.


          Catanduanes is still thick with virgin forest, lush mountains and vegetations in its milieu.


          My friends, like an eastern pearl gallantly shining through in the eastern pacific seas, our beloved island brings consolation to desolate spirits away from her abode.


          It is still blessed with the wonders and mysteries of Mother Nature that’s wanting in other places of material prosperity.


          That’s why, if you ask me: Can illegal logging in Catanduanes be stopped?




          Illegal Logging in Catandunes can be stopped. And from this time on, it can absolutely be a thing of the past.


          Illegal logging maybe a painful truth, but still the optimism and dauntless spirit of Catandunganons in today’s generation shall make an immense difference.


In every season of dire misery, of seemingly dreadful realities of hopelessness; waits a rainbow of hope, of sunshine painted against the backdrop of our unyielding passion to move beyond limitations and obstacles.


          Yes, indeed. There maybe an illegal logging existing in Catanduanes. But lo and behold. Could it be a sole reason for us to rest in despair and wait as bystanders of events that will still befall us? Could it be a sole reason for us to be cynics and escapists and point accusing fingers?


     What good would it take us?


          What benefit would it bring our people today and in the next generations?


          I strongly resist this pessimist thinking that’s certainly akin to underdevelopment.


          We should instead stand up, and count ourselves as fellow advocates– learned or unlearned, young and old, man and woman of all places from the north, south, east and west of this beloved island province – as protectors and saviors of our lush forests.


          Yes, there’s, reason to hope and move forward as I see our people of today being more conscientious, more united, and more ecologically-alert citizens of Catanduanes.


          That’s why I say, if illegal logging in Catanduanes has been here with us, it can still be stopped.


          Apart from the zealousness of our people, our agencies, and our local government units are not remiss of their duties to safeguard our forests.


          Notwithstanding limitations on resources, that’s no match with the strong resolve of networks between the government and the community to continuously fight oppressors of our forests.


          Our firm policies on forest protection have been practiced through time, offenders have been continuously pursued without fear or favor, and our rural communities have continued to be active cooperators in this crusade.


That’s why, Catanduanes shows a descending number of illegal logging activities year after year. And this makes a good sense in our solid front as crusaders against wanton destruction of our forests.


Illegal logging in Catanduanes can be stopped.


          I can never say it can’t be, because Catandunganons are idealist, religious, peace-loving and nature activists. As you look around, there’s still no sense that Catanduanes would someday replicate a desert zone.


          On the contrary, ours would still turn out as ever more green, ecologically rich and balanced province in the next decades.


          Catandunganons of today would not tolerate any harm against our forest.


          As with the richness of our culture goes the richness of our hearts to continuously preserve our environs. Let it be that way today and forever.


          Illegal logging in Catanduanes can be stopped. And I believe it can be done.






*Cesar V. Sarmiento ORATORICAL CUP

The Sixth Staging

December 11, 2006 2:00 P.M.

CSC GYMNASIUM, Virac, Catanduanes


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7th CVS Oratorical Cup

Posted by bong on October 12, 2008

Resolving brain drain: Alleviating the plight

of migrant Filipinos*



          I love my own, my native…Philippines, my Philippines.


          Ladies and Gentlemen: We used to sing this in schools. Yes, it reminds us always of the never ending need to love our own Philippines, our own native land. The talents that you own, the skills that you have, the bravery and fervent devotion of faith and patriotism in you must be there first, in your own native land.


          Isn’t it that centuries ago, your forebears fought with their might and blood, and even gave their sacred lives just for their own, native land and passed this on as a living legacy for posterity that we are now?


          Remember the blood shed of our heroes and heroines of the past?


          They proud themselves as bearers of sovereign people and country; witness to the gallant race and majestic past.


          I love my own, my native land… Philippines, my Philippines.


          Ah, the song runs nostalgic and pierces the innermost veins of your being. Isn’t this a lesson that’s gives us a parable of our own history as a nation in the far – east?


          The memories of Mactan, the fights in Tirad Pass, the uprising in Balintawak, the gallantry of  Gabriela Silang, the martyrdom of Rizal in Bagumbayan, or the waving of national flag in Kawit Cavite — they were just sketches of so many life – giving struggles of our forebears.


The sovereign spirit of the Filipino burns forevermore with the life and bloodshed of the past. Let it be, and let it enflame the portal of our modern era.


          I love my own, my native land… Philippines, my Philippines.


          How many of us memorize the song or even know it by heart? Or, do we still have them in our schools?


          Friends, as we are now, we must learn to reverberate within the four corners of archipelago the song that we used to sing:


          I love my own, my native land… Philippines, my Philippines.


          Let it strike the depths of your hearts, the core of your souls. The psyche of your Filipinism must be truly immersed in a real face of patriotic zeal that is indeed Filipino.


          The problem of brain drain slowly creeps within the scheme of our national consciousness, and immerses in the families of our people; driving them and giving them the easy way out of their own land, their own native land — the Philippines.


          Ah, you are quick to retort of severe economic deprivations. Partly yes.


          That this country would go on the down ways and slip on further beyond degradation and squalor becomes a rationale to turn heads out and look forward outside the borders of our own native land; and skip the call of our song:


          I love my own, my native land… Philippines, my Philippines.


          Every year, every month, every day, statistics are incomparably superb in monstrous number, pile after pile; witnessed by the long and seemingly eternal queue of human lines in every nook and corners of the metropolis who are willing to go outside the land of your birth.


          You ask them, my friend and they will tell you: “ It’s no use staying in this hopeless, native land of yours. They will give you poverty, poverty and poverty!”


          You like more poverty and more hopelessness?


          You like more baffling uptrend of chaos and rift as it widens like a wildfire between the rich and the poor? Oh, my friend, it’s no use staying and giving mighty hours and yes, devoting your priceless talents and energies in this land of your birth…


          Confronted by this deep bitterness that somehow runs a semblance of truth, or so truthful as they are with many of your brothers and sisters in neglected countryside; you will leave a sigh of desperation that brain drain must have been a part of our national psyche. Or is it forever?


          Who could be blamed — the government? The families? The people?


          Who, then could we turn to? Brain drain is real. Brain drain is fatal to your country and people. But brain drain has been there with you for so long a decade.


          To let your best and gifted countrymen leave you for greater goods and leave behind a bunch of mediocre and needless lot is in itself a doom. It doesn’t just drain your brain, my friend. It steals your identity as a Filipino in a nation of your birth.


          There lies, my friends, the ruthless consequence of our stream of complexities as a nation.


          Can you resolve brain drain?


          Or are you one of those willing to give up? You will not wonder my friend, if many of our families are in droves, leading their children, their children, their best and learned children, to degrees which promise more profitable ventures in going out of their own, native land after graduation…


          Could you blame them?


You may not willingly cast aspersion to this phenomena when the government implies subservience to this bitter fact to swallow: This land of ours is utterly poor— deep, deep down the isles of embattled economy, peace and order and politics.


          The peso swings down and up and down and up like a raging and haphazard pendulum that knows no leaps and bounds. The people are mixed up, totally confused and divided, uncaring and fatalistic of what the future may bring, except that a bunch of lot care about the daily showbiz news.


          The long queue of human line in the metropolis sings the same aria of desperate tune. They go out of their own native land because ironically they will be catapulted to the heights as “Bagong Bayani”



          This, the government; your government my friend calls them to appease the nagging reality that not a single prescription of development has not served their lives and their families any better.



          That’s why brain drain stays there my friend.



          You want to resolve brain drain? Keep the stories of adventurers, the anecdotes of migrant Filipinos who through thick and thin have stayed their toes in foreign lands.



          The ebb and flow of emotions, the drama of tears and fears, of tragedy, of heroism, of scarifies and romance somehow give you, my friend the grand picture that it’s not all heavens and roses outside your own, native land.



          But the long queue of human lines in the metropolis still persist everyday and every hour going  out of this own, native land. Many are the best and the brightest. Many are the keenly skilled. Many converted their avowed professions to lesser jobs but profitably enticing venture. The list goes on and on.



          Lebanon was devastated in the past. Iraq was torn by wars. Ethnic violence erupted in some parts of the Muslim states.



          Your country immigration ruled: RESTRICTED.



          No travels, no going out.



          Any one hears? The stories of kidnapped Filipino overseas workers in war-torn areas, the rough sliding negotiations with stories of triumphs and defeats; the mass abuse of women in some Arab countries to say the least, are testimonies of turning deaf despite the risks in exchange of relatively safe living  in your own, native land.



          The plight of our countrymen has more to say beyond this piece, my friend.



          If some have come in the annals of tragedy; we are saved by the ingenuity, the skillful conquest and success of many of migrant Filipinos.



          To the unfortunate, would you try to give them relief from their woes, my friend?



          At the crossroads of our country’s never ending quest for peace, unity and economic miracle that are still left to be desired than felt after all, what gains would we give to our countrymen flocking the promised land of bread and honey outside this own, native land?



          Yes, tomorrow there will be another new faces, new line ups in the long queue in the metropolis; sweating out from their brows through their haggard feet.



          Never mind. They want their way out of this own, native land.



          They are the generation not of the past who sang:



          I love my own, my native land… Philippines, my Philippines.”



          The love of country has been paled if it means dying for it. The love of country has been paled if it means staying for it. The love of country has been paled if it means giving up something for her.



          The love of country has evolved in the Bagong Bayani concept among Overseas Filipino Workers who showed more monetary sustenance for their own, economically embattled country. Their sacrifices and God forbid, their bloodshed, have become the life-force from which their own native land rest to breathe its own living.



          The answer, my friend, lies along this way.



          Brain drain will fade in the backdrop our existence. Yes, in the future it will.






          Real development of peoples staged in progressive governance will keep them in. By then, the tales of woe of our migrant Filipino workers shall have taken their pace out of our nation’s history — this we can as a legacy for posterity.



          The answer, my friend lies in every heart of living Filipino.



          Can you take the challenge?






Cesar V. Sarmiento ORATORICAL CUP

The Seventh Staging

November 23, 2007 / 2:30 P.M.

Provincial Capitol Dome, Virac, Catanduanes


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Severo C. Alcantara: His life and legacy to Catanduanes

Posted by bong on October 11, 2008





Distinguished board of judges,

Friends, ladies and gentlemen:




n the words of the late Robert Kennedy, “some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask, why not!”


          It is my great privilege and honor today to speak about one of my most revered leaders in Catanduanes, the late Governor Severo C. Alcantara.


          Sev to his loved ones, he never missed a single opportunity of his life to portray an A-1 excellence in public service, family life and moral integrity.


          I thanked the Almighty for once giving His people in Catanduanes a true gift of genuine leader in the late Governor Sev  Alcantara.


          I truly miss the time of Governor Sev which somehow left a legacy that has carved its own niche in the history of Catanduanes – in the entirety of its social, political and economic landscape.


          Governor Sev Alcantara’s humble beginnings helped shape him into a truly magnificent, innovative and dignified leader and friend to all.


          The hand of Destiny led him towards the pedestal of service and power but despite that; it has made him even more bowed to the ground and felt the inner pulse of the helpless, the downtrodden and the handicapped.

          Governor Sev rose from a poor family in Virac that would not even afford him then to finish elementary. Determined, he plowed the fields, literally, at a very young age; carried heavy loads in his back – sacks of palay, camote, corn or what have you – they didn’t matter anyway.


          Governor Sev was never deterred by the hard beatings of poverty. On the contrary, they made him even more resolved to cross the challenge and ultimately succeed.


          True, indeed. Even when he almost failed to enter Grade 7, thanks to his persistence in bargaining that allowed him to enter high school on condition of exemplary grades; he proved that at young age he can make things happen.


          This showed in the young Severo  a foreshadow of what he will become in the future. It is because he knew what he intended to fulfill and to accomplish by sheer persistence, courage and perseverance.


          He was on top of his class as smart, intelligent and strong-minded student.


          Unmindful of his nothingness, he ventured his way to Manila with only a one-way ticket to support himself after finishing first year in high school.


          He worked as a janitor at FEU while schooling. At an early age, Governor Sev. had showed prominence in leadership. He earned the respect from his peers and was elected as their president of student council.


          It was said that the young Severo then was not able to attend oath taking ceremonies.  It’s not that Governor Sev didn’t want to. It’s not that he squandered his time with friends. It’s because the young Severo was fulfilling his other duty — that of transporting refreshments and kettles of food up the fourth floor. It’s because he’s doing odd jobs at the same time and even slept in the classrooms just to support himself in college.


          Thus, when there’s a will really, there’s a way. He graduated in college with a degree in Accountancy. He later found himself hired as messenger in a multi-national company.


          He married the former Ester Dañas, also of Virac who was Governor Sev’s seatmate in elementary. Their family life was just as normal and ordinary for struggling families which would make both ends meet.


          But the moral courage of Sev did not stop him from dreaming things right. He seemed to ask himself: “ I dream things that never were, and ask, why not ?”


          And so, what seemed to have been formidable and elusive had become a blessing of reality for Governor Sev and his wife Ester.


          He worked extraordinarily. In quick successions, he became Vice-President of the Ad Company he began to serve as Messenger. No sooner, he became its President and bought majority of its stocks. It eventually carried his name, alongside his multi-national partners.


          Thus, the name Severo C. Alcantara had become a name to reckon with in the advertising arena of his time. The DENTSU-YOUNG-RUBICAM ALCANTARA was born and remained in the top ten ad agencies in the Philippines.


          With enormous pour of providence reaped from Governor Sev ‘s patient enduring of challenges through the ages, it’s time to share the bounties of God back to where he came –- the island province of Catanduanes.


          And so it was.


          The people of Catanduanes willingly welcomed him with open arms first as their Vice-Governor, then ultimately their Governor.


          The provincial dispensation has never been that professional, system-focused and dignified as with the time of Governor Severo C. Alcantara. It is because Governor Sev practiced what he preached in good governance in a context of servant-leadership and role modeling.


          He should know because he went up the ladder of success as businessman of high caliber in his time through discipline, intelligence and faith both in God and in personal integrity.


          The corporate atmosphere in local government administration had become an innovation in its own right under Governor Sev’s time. The rest followed in terms of changing the backdrop of public administration  in the provincial government from that of being patronage-focused and traditional to output and dynamic centered.


          Governor Sev’s landmark, one of his best legacies, is his guard against graft and corrupt practices. His advocacy against it has bore so much benefit in the province during his time.

          The faith of constituents in local government had been such at its peak in Governor Sev’s dispensation which had brought cooperation and respect from all walks and sectors of society.


          Oh, how I’d love to reminisce that time.


          Lest I forget, Catandungan festival was born from Governor Sev’s idea to pump-up the image of this island province with the outside world. A stamp of our own identity in its festival alongside with the rest of the country was achieved and grew like wildfire since then.


          Governor Sev did not settle in mediocrity. He measured everything he did in excellence.


          With a big heart for the poor, he put up Alcantara Scholarship Foundation, Inc. for those deserving scholars in college even past his tenure as governor.


          Now, we remember the man. Governor Severo C. Alcantara.


          Let our remembrance of him inspire every one of us, the youth especially who are the next generations of leaders in Catanduanes to bear the light of his legacy.


          With that, they shall never walk in the dark !




Fn.:sevalcantara /oratorical cup2008

Romel-alicia natl hs-payo /edwardvillar

October 5, 2008stjohnvillage





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