Thursday, April 19, 2007



It was a reunion of sort when I decided to drop-by at the office of Cecile Soriano, Administrator of the Fiber Development Authority (FIDA) with Inez Magbual’s presence. Inez, was the head of the Agricultural Information Division (AID), Department of Agriculture (DA) while Cecile was then FIDA’s Assistant Administrator during my stint at DA’s Office of the Secretary’s Board of Personnel Inquiry (BOPI), where I transferred after a brief adventure with General Rodolfo Canieso at the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

(Cecile Soriano being interviewed by Connie Sison. Left inset: Roy, Connie and Inez. Right inset: Cecile, Connie, Inez and Ms. Ramos, daughter of Dir. Bong Ramos, DA)

Inez was asked to produce "Maunlad na Agrikultura" after retirement by then DA Secretary Domingo "Ding" Panganiban, who was our former boss as the Undersecretary with then Secretary Salvador ‘Sonny’ Escudero III and Aber Canlas, former Undersecretary of the DPWH, who was our consultant, when I was with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) as Senior Executive Assistant of the Deputy Administrator under the watch of then General Orlando "Orly" Soriano, our Administrator during the Ramos Administration.

By the way, I met Mrs. Ming Ramos at NBN last month and she was thankful that the picture of her husband FVR was made part of the backdrop of the show Pilipinas Ngayon Na! where I was commissioned by Undersecretary Robert T. Rivera to do the lay-out. Being an Ilongga who hails from Iloilo, Mrs. Ramos told us: Salamat Gid Kaayo! She repeated the words in a manner eloquently pronounced by hiligaynons when I told her that I sent the General (FVR) his charcoaled painted picture that I made last December thru the wife of Joe Olaer, one of FVR’s staff at his office in Urban Bank, Makati. I was the one drafting FVR’s speeches whenever he is a guest at NIA. General Ramon Ong, a product of Ateneo and PMA, who was then Administrator Soriano’s Head Executive Assistant reviews my draft. He sees to it that the numbers we report are those we promised to accomplish and deliver whenever there are figures in the speeches I prepared. Otherwise, General Ong will get mad if our accomplishment does not tally with what our people reported as compared to the figures we promised to deliver.

It is good that Secretary Arthur Yap continued supporting Inez even after Secretary Ding Panganiban left DA. Inez, an institution at the DA who served the Department since the time of then Secretary Tangco is the perfect person for the job. The program, which is being aired at NBN Channel-4 every Saturday from 10:00 to 11:00 in the morning promotes agriculture. Inez was with her host Connie Sison for the taping of a segment where Cecile is the guest. Connie was interviewing Cecile when I arrived.

I learned later that FIDA is promoting the use of indigenous materials such as "abaca" and "silk" to produce fabrics. Others may not be aware of it, but there is a law requiring manufacturers to use at least 30% of the said material for fabric production. I came to realized later that the advocacy being pushed by Cecile is not only to promote the fiber industry per se. It goes deeper. . . to address the needs of our kababayans in Bicol. The Bicolanos are still recuperating from the devastation brought about by typhoon Reming that ruined more than 30% of the abaca industry. Hundreds died, hundreds more perished whose body has not been discovered to date, while others who survived lost all their belongings, and all of their love ones. For some, nothing left including their sanity as they find it hard to accept the reality. Many lost their self-esteem as a people, as Bicolanos, because their means of livelihood vanished.

Let us help them stand from rubles of mud, dust and stones. Let us help Cecil in her advocay for she cannot do it alone. Let us help Inez’ by promoting the fiber industry, by buying clothes, goods and products with materials made of abaca as it would mean not only the giving of food, lighting of candles or rebuilding shelters, but for the many Bicolanos – to recover their self esteem as well. Every abaca they plant, till, harvest and weave, means a livelihood. Every cloth made with materials from these fibers, means a grain of rice for our kababayans in Bicol.
Whether you are here or abroad, let us not forget our fellow Filipinos who are in need. Let us have a good night sleep with a good deed done in a day. There is only but one Philippines and we have no other raise but one – Filipino! Let us unite for this common agenda.


Lately, Bella Dimayuga of the world famous Bellestar Promotion, who now produces the Search for Hiyas ng Pilipinas Beauty Pageant, which was partly sponsored by Usec. Robert T. Rivera’s show Pilipinas Ngayon Na! aired every Sundays from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. at NBN Channel-4, envisions a fashion design for the pageant made from indigenous material. Bella, our patriotic friend, who reared, nurtured and developed countless of Filipino talents here and abroad is now in US promoting the pageant. The pageant's coronation night was scheduled on July 27, 2007 to coincide with Ngayon Na’s 2nd Anniversary at NBN-4. PNN transferred to NBN after more than a decade of airing at Channel 13. Surely, Bella, might be interested to know more about Cecil’s advocacy soon as she reads this blog when she returns.


I also hope that our friend Jimmy Kho, the maker of the world famous Patriot and Voyager Bags, whose very energetic staff, Marivic Diaz, is always texting me whenever they have a promotion - will consider incorporating materials made from abaca and silk for their bags. By the way, Patriot shall be giving away 30 to 50% off on selected items this opening of the school year 2007-2008. What a Christian way of helping the students especially the six (6) schools under the Parochial School Association of Novaliches, whose Director is Father Albert Delvo.

PSA is under the umbrella of the Diocese of Novaliches whose Bishop is His Eminence Antonio Tobias. I am honored to charcoal paint the portrait of His Eminence, who later told me that he posted it in his room. To His Eminence Bishop Antonio Tobias, thank you for the blessing.


I am sure that Undersecretary Robert T. Rivera, Undersecretary for Operations, Office of the Press Secretary, will be glad to read this blog. I remember a time when I was at a limbo why Robert invited me to attend a press briefing in MalacaƱang and bring the picture I took of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, a junior officer of my uncle General Emilio S. Luga, Jr., now retired (PMA 54’), in the military. I was surprised when he personally brought me to a room and instructed me to personally hand over the picture to Secretary Ermita as he arrives. It was then that I learned that Secretary Ermita was looking for the photographer who took his picture which he loves best. It's me, I'm flattered. Imagine of all the people in the Philippines! There were also times when I saw pages from my blogs reprinted and distributed at MalacaƱang. Thank you, Usec. Robert, a very apolitical, down to earth, patriotic and religious person.