Sixty percent (60%) of the raging stories that stole the headlines in
2010 were election-pegged and violence-related.
That the May 10 presidential and local polls generated 3 of the 10 Top
Stories is not a surprising phenomenon, considering how Filipinos take
their politics seriously. About 7 to 8 of every 10 Filipinos trooped
to the polls - a big election voter turnout by any measure in any
place of the globe - a big step for participative democracy.
The May 10 polls, if for nothing else, liberated the province from the
near monolithic dominance of Lakas - walking under the light, or was
it the shadow (?) of then incumbent president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
It brought a new cocktail of political options for Boholano voters.
Although Lakas still dominated most of the smaller to tiny posts of
power, the big shot tickets was a mixed bag. Governor Edgar Chatto and
Vice Governor Conching Lim together with unopposed third district
congressman-elect (former DA chief) Arthur Yap were the Lakas
"purists" who made the grade.
Former Bohol governor and vice governor Rico Aumentado and Julius
Herrera respectively supported the tangerine party of former senate
president Manny Villar for RP president.
Aumentado won as 2nd district political kingpin but Herrera lost in
the gubernatorial race. Only LDP (now currently LP) stalwart Rep.
Relampagos of the 1st district survived the onslaught of the Lakas
juggernaut - though Rene was technically in coalition with Lakas
Meantime, losing city mayor candidate Jose "Toto" Veloso, would not
take his "incredible loss" to the incumbent city Mayor Dan Lim,
sitting down. Because of the obvious vote buying, threats and
intimidation from the Lim camp, Veloso believed he should have
otherwise won the city polls in May 2010. "Besides, there's just too
much statistical improbabilities in the election returns in the city,
so I have to file a protest in Manila" the former city vice Mayor
The imperfections in the electoral system continued to display its
unwanted characteristics in some places when the recent Barangay and
SK elections were suspiciously marred by stealthy acts like delaying
the delivery of ballots - that made the some citizens disenfranchised
in areas. In other cases, the results may not therefore also reflect
the ultimate sovereign will of the community. That is thoroughly
unacceptable in a democracy.
The crime of violence showed its three-headed and ugly faces involving
drugs, kidnapping and anti-media violence in our BC Top Ten Stories.
Alexander Romero, 32, an alleged drug distributor's brutal liquidation
near the Courts of Law showed utter disregard and disrespect to the
institutions of justice. Many counter that people who live dangerous
lives are courting out of court disasters.
A Boholano regional sales manager of a chemical company Edgar Cuajao
tasted bitter reality (like the movies he saw) by his ordeal while
being kidnapped by a group who was in tremendous pressure to produce
results in Mindanao. The timely intervention of the Bohol provincial
and Cagayan de Oro city governments, however, prevented a worse
consequence of the kidnap for ransom activity.
On the other hand, the cowardly punch (with a heavy object attached to
the fist) that sent vocal broadcaster critic Richard Bompat to the
hospital for stitches was the most obvert assault inflicted on the
freedom of the press hereabouts - after a series of more subtle
harassments in the past.
But the event only served to unite crusading journalists to close
ranks and not to surrender the
basic human right of free speech to freedom-assassins.
On the economic front, prices of basic goods like fish and oil riled
the normally patient senses of Boholanos as they took the issue to
acerbic public discourse.
In the process of a Fish Summit discussion, the ugly images of the
presence of an impregnable cartel, lack of financing (thus) nourishing
the industry of loan sharks, the presence of too many layers of
middlemen, the disorganization of small fisher folks and the lack of a
Fish Harbour facility came to the fore. Licking the problem - after
identifying it - remains to be many a challenge to most governance,
"Greed is good", the gospel of Wall Street imago Gordon Gekko, on the
one hand, seems to explain why the province is inflicted with higher
oil prices compared to others. As does explain the disparity in gas
prices from town to town, from city to town. But in pure capitalistic
fashion, deregulation and more competition will eventually level the
playing field- unless the players themselves decide to oligopolize.
The public thus loses.
Somehow, people are still hoping for some kind of government
intervention or another as oil prices create a domino effect on prices
of other goods and services as well. Can this still be done?
The final two Top stories to complete the ten, famously belongs to the
fabled island of Panglao, our crown tourism jewel.
The New Bohol Airport, badgered by years of roller coaster ride of
agony and ecstasy, will finally become a P7.5-billion reality with the
PNoy endorsement of the airport to be among the 2011's top ten
priority projects under the Private Public Partnership programs (PPP)
worth P15 billion.
That will be three years in the making though.
On the other hand, overzealous investors hankering for a huge
Reclamation Project east of Panglao is running into a battering ram of
opposition coming from national environmentalists and planners and
local NGOs, the Panglao legislature and fisher folks
With roads, water and power in Panglao still to be optimized, the
ambitious Reclamation Project appears a decade too early-
environmental clearance permitting.
The year of 2010 was exciting, threatening and challenging.
But like in the last 56 years, the Chronicle, as its name suggests,
chronicled the events with the same wide-eyed enthusiasm of