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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 20, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Bacolod's martyr-saint

Ninfa Leonardia Today is the feast of St. Sebastian, patron saint of Bacolod City in whose name the famous cathedral of the city is named. Devotees of the soldier-saint, as well as ordinary residents of the city who belong to the faith he had died for, will flock to the cathedral today for the holy masses to be said in his honor. This is one feast that always make me sentimental because, for as long as I can remember, my family has always been devotees of this saint, a devotion that was further ingrained in us children because of our studies in La Consolation College.

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LCC is right in the same vicinity as the Cathedral and almost all through our schooldays my sister and brothers, celebrated holidays and special religious events in this cathedral where we had all been baptized, had our confirmations, and first holy communions. Both my parents were regular habitués of the cathedral where, I am sure, they always prayed for our safety and well-being. When they died, we held their funeral masses and services at the San Sebastian as well, as we knew they would have wanted.

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The most beautiful accounts we heard then of San Sebastian was how he was believed to have protected the residents of Bacolod, both during the Spanish era and later, the Japanese occupation. We were not in Bacolod then, having evacuated to our grandparents' farm in Pontevedra, but somehow, such stories still got to us. Even while there, we were always reminded by our mother when January 20 came about, it being the feast of San Sebastian, to whom she also entrusted our safety during those dangerous days. And we never forgot the lyrics of the hymn to St. Sebastian, wherever we were. These days, we are again entrusting our city and our country to this martyr-saint, because of what is happening now.

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Today, for one, I am praying to St. Sebastian to enlighten the minds of our lawmakers, whether they are in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, to be enlightened as they work on the proposed change in our constitution that had served us well enough for about a century. If we are concerned about our future, and that of the next generations, we should pray that greed for power will be abated and those with the right attitude be further inspired to work hard to protect our country. Amen.

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Indeed, there is a need for all Filipinos to pray as they watch the antics of their supposed lawmakers who are squabbling among themselves now over the proposed changes in our Constitution. The House of Representatives, it would seem, is pushing its weight around citing its bigger number, in order to make the Senate go along with its idea of how the changes are to be done. For the House, they want to do a “quickie” by adopting the Con-Ass, or constitutional assembly, with only themselves participating.

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But some members of the Senate, mindful of the elements of democracy, still hope to adopt the Con-Con, or constitutional convention, where the voting citizens can participate. And why not, because this is going to affect them and the future generations? There is no monopoly on wisdom and this is a change that has not taken place for a long time, and may probably not happen again in another century, so why begrudge the people it will affect the opportunity to have their say? Isn't it overbearing for the House leaders to point out that they have the numbers in case the matter comes to a vote by both houses?

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Back to local matters, I agree most completely with the businessmen who have been complaining about the way the flyover at Araneta Street, especially right in front of the DAILY STAR building and office, has been constructed. Did they have such an excess of cement that they had to build sidings, or walls, whatever, so tall, even in the areas that were not even elevated anymore? Aside from making the street ugly, it may also aggravate matters when rains and floods come again. I hope DPWH Secretary Mark Villar comes to take another look at it. He will also be appalled, I am sure.

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I heard that some teachers are lamenting the reports that they will get the salary hikes they had been counting on in 2022 yet. That must have been very disappointing for those who had thought of changing employments and decided to return because of the enticement of salary hikes. But perhaps it is understandable that their hikes should wait, because the decision of the President to make education at state-owned colleges and universities free, will surely make a big dent on whatever funds could be allocated to education. I hope I am wrong in this conclusion, but, doesn't it sound logical? Until now, I do not know yet whether free education at SUs is for everybody, rich or poor. Is it? Then, maybe worried teachers should know why.*

 

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