Kaamulan street dancers to showcase life, history, culture of Bukidnon Lumads

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News Dispatch  / 02 March 2012)   –Thousands of residents and visitors will troop to the city’s thoroughfares Saturday to witness contingents from seven local governments compete in the Kaamulan 2012 ethnic street dancing and ground competitions featuring life in the province’s indigenous communities and their love for peace.


Vice President Jejomar Binay is the provincial government’s guest of honor in time for the competition, the Capitol’s Public Affairs, Information, and Assistance (PAIA) Office confirmed Friday. The street dancing competition is one of the highlights and the biggest crowd drawers of the annual ethnic-inspired festival here.


The contingents’ order of presentation in the annual ethnic competition will be as follows: Cabanglasan, San Fernando, Quezon, Kalilangan, Valencia City, Malitbog, and Maramag.  They will compete in two categories, street dancing and ground competition.


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Malaybalay’s pride: 2 city soccer players in youth nat’l team

Bukidnon National High School student Charles Ivan Barberan, 13, a member of the Malaybalay City Football Club “Under 16” team (in photo) and another schoolmate Aian Mark Garcia, 15, make it to the Philippines U16 national team and will join the 18-member team to a tournament in Vietnam in May 2011. Photo courtesy of Gabby James Namoc/MCFC

MALAYBALAY CITY – Bukidnon National High School student Charles Ivan Barberan, 13, a member of the Malaybalay City Football Club “Under 16” team and a schoolmate Aian Mark Garcia, 15, made it to the Philippines’ U16 national team, provincial board member Roland Deticio said.
Deticio, president of the Malaybalay City Football Club, confirmed that the two will join practice games organized by the Philippine Football Federation in Cebu after the Holy Week.
He said the boys will practice in preparation for the 18-member team’s participation in a tournament in Vietnam in May 2011.

Deticio said the drafting of the two is a welcome development for Bukidnon football amid the rising popularity of the game brought by the rise of the “Azkals” national foot ball team.
He added that the two will go back to their classes after the tournament.
Gabby James Namoc, one of the coaches at MCFC, said the two were scouted during try outs held in the sidelines of the 7th Del Monte Football Tournament last month in Camp Philips, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

The MCFC is one of the member clubs of the Bukidnon Football Association (BUFA), which includes as members the Del Monte Football Club. The DMFC holds the annual national youth football tournament.

The BUFA is also a member of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), also a founder of the Asian Football Federation.

The youth foot ball clubs around the Philippines have welcomed the conduct of youth football tournaments to boost the development of the sports in the country.

Namoc said the BUFA itself has chosen four MCFC players to boost their bid for the Mindanao youth team. Those qualified to train for the BUFA team were Joshua Dutosme, Juarlito Daga-ang, Jesie John Millaries, and Aian Mark Garcia, all from the BNHS.

The MCFC recognized that the bulk of support for local football really come from the government sector. He said they are still starting to tap the private sector.

According to the MCFC, they are thankful of support from Gov. Alex P. Calingasan, Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr, Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri, Vice Mayor Victor Aldeguer, Malaybalay councilors Perla Rubio and Roland F. Deticio, Malaybalay City sport coordinator Niko Aldeguer, Dr. Sulpicio Henry Legaspi Jr, Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center director, Mishel Castilla, and MCFC secretary-general Jose Macabale Jr. (Walter I. Balane with a report by Gabby James Namoc of the MCFC)

Nurses cry foul, warn vs. illegal recruitment

Eppie L. Enguito, Bukidnon Provincial Hospital Maramag chief nurse and registered nurse Jose Arsenio Jude Ormillada speak about the problem of illegal recuitment of nurses in the province during the Kapihan sa Bukidnon Press Club on April 13, 2011 at the PPDO Conference Hall, Malaybalay City Bukidnon News photo

MALAYBALAY CITY – A group of nurses from Maramag cried foul against a questionable recruiter and warned the public against attractive offers for employment abroad.

Accompanied by Bukidnon Provincial Hospital-Maramag chief nurse Eppie Lim Enguito, three nurses who said they were duped by a nurse now based in Singapore, reported during the Kapihan sa Bukidnon Press Club on April 13 the need to raise public awareness of the threat of illegal recruitment and demanded that more than a million pesos of placement fees they paid since 2010, be returned.

Jose Arsenio Jude Ormillada, a registered nurse, said they were duped when they were convinced by a nurse identified as Jeanelyn E. Noveno to apply through a direct hiring opportunity for the Mt. Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Noveno, who posed as a hospital representative, allegedly convinced them to apply after a colleague, Levi Lovitos, a radiologic technologist at the BPH told them he already has paid placement fee and is scheduled to travel to Singapore for employment.

The nurses lamented their difficulty in the ordeal, some of them caught between the prospect of being hired and the fear of losing their parent’s hard earned money.

“What we are going through is not easy. It is frustrating. We have to stand both anger and shame. But there is also challenge (to fight for justice),” Ormillada said.

Noveno, in her statement to this reporter, denied recruiting them saying she was only helping the applicants. She cited a certain Lina Ng as the recruiter, who is supposed to return the money.

‘Too good to be true’
The nurses now consider the offer of direct hiring to Singapore as ‘too good to be true,’ and one that they realized was a fraud, too late.

Because of a colleague’s testimony, Ormillada and other nurses were enticed to apply and paid advance placement fees starting February 16, 2010.

But alleged delays in placement, scheduled interviews, and alleged lies prompted him and two other nurses out of the 11 who paid placement fees, to withdraw. In his withdrawal letter Ormillada cited a health problem that has to be addressed.

Ormillada showed documents that he deposited a total of P115,000 to Noveno’s BDO bank account; P25,000 on February 16, 2010 and P90,000 on March 19, 2010. Nurses Bryan Troy Sarausa and Riza Jean Benitez, who withdrew with Ormilllada and were at the Kapihan sa BPC, paid P125,000 each.

Ormillada said after they signified intention to withdraw in August 2010 they have been promised that money will be returned not later than October 15, 2010. But six months after, not a peso was returned.

In Ormillada’s prepared incident report, he said Noveno told him in March 2010 that there was great interest from two departments in the hospital for his application. He was told that he and other applicants will be scheduled for interview in June 2010.

But they have to pay P120,000, he added, for placement “so that the recruiters will directly process their application especially at Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower for work permit.”

A week after depositing P90,000 of the P120,000 on March 19, Noveno called him to inform her receipt of the money and that she has paid the balance of P30,000 for the meantime.

In April 2010, Ormillada received another call from Noveno, who informed him that his papers passed the test at the ministry. They were supposed to have work permit already. When he asked for a copy to show proof to his parents, he got nothing.

In May, Lovitos, the radiologic technologist, who helped convince them to apply took a leave of absence from the hospital for his interview in Singapore. She also informed him that Lovitos passed the interview.

Lovitos ‘success’ and his accounts of the quality of the hospital in Singapore convinced others to apply and deposit placement fees, Ormillada said.

Noveno also informed Ormillada of his own schedule on June 16, 2010.

But Ormillada said it was cancelled.

Noveno told him the Singapore hospital chief nurse is on a “foreign trip”.

It was an incident later in June that awakened the applicants: they might have been duped.

Another applicant Bryan Troy Sarausa’s schedule was pushed through in the last week of June. He went to Singapore for the scheduled interview. But there was none.

Instead, a receptionist at Mt. Elizabeth Hospital told him Noveno was no longer connected with them.

Sarausa, as quoted in Ormillada’s written account, said that Noveno asked him to tell others that the interview pushed through even if it didn’t.

Noveno subsequently denied this account (in her statement below).

When he returned to BPH, Sarausa was mum about his foiled interview in Singapore. But he confessed to Ormillada in July that there was no interview. In his mind, they were really tricked.

In August 2010, Ormillada, Sarausa, and another applicant Gloria Anne Cabaron who paid P82,000 placement fee, decided to withdraw. Right then Noveno pledged to return their money “in two to three weeks,” Ormillada said. That did not happen.

The group feared that the money went wayward. An internet search showed that the recruitment agency Noveno claimed as owned by a certain Lina Ng, supposedly the owner, was non-existent.

Fabricated certification
BPH nurses are required to notify the management in case they plan to move out. They kept it from management. This is one reason why Enguito did not know about the recruitment of her nurses.

She said the hospital never had a hand in the recruitment. Now, she is helping the nurses in their decision to withdraw from their application. As soon as she heard of it,she has reminded them against transacting with the suspect.

But she said she was not spared from the controversy. Her signature was forged in a falsified certificate of employment submitted by the recruiter to the Singapore Nursing Board. The certification was attached to one of the applicant’s documents. She said instead of the 130-bed capacity of the hospital it was indicated in the certificate that the hospital has 200 beds, among other misrepresentations.

Twisting the story?
In her statements to this reporter, Noveno stood by her word that nothing irregular was happening. The applicants said they deposited the money in Noveno’s bank account.

Noveno lives in Singapore and works as a “psychiatric unit staff nurse” at the Parkway Health Group of Hospitals. She finished her nursing studies at the Liceo de Cagayan University in 1996, according to her social network account, which she used to respond to this reporter’s queries.

While on vacation on August 23, 2010, Noveno met with Ormillada and other applicants in a restaurant in Valencia City. She denied Sarausa’s account that she is no longer connected with the hospital. Ormillada quoted her as saying it was only part of the hospital’s security protocol. He said Noveno was silent when asked about Lovitos’ and Sarausa’s foiled interviews.

Noveno said Sarausa was the one who asked her to lie about the foiled interview because he allegedly botched it after requesting a postponement, a claim that Ormillada said was her own irrelevant twist. To the nurses, what matters is the return of their money.

Noveno promised to ask Ng, which according to her was the agency owner, to return the money.

She told this reporter that the applicants have already been interviewed with one of them already has taken the Singapore Nursing Board examinations. She also said one of the applicants Riza Benitez, one of those who backed out, already has an employment contract.

Ormillada said Benitez did not have a contract, but a received copy of her application.

Noveno denied having introduced herself as a representative from the Mt. Elizabeth Hospital. Ormillada said Lovitos introduced her to them in March 2010 as such.

It was Ormillada and other applicants who invited her to discuss their application in their house, not in the hospital (to avoid Enguito), Noveno said.

“And now they are twisting the story against me?” she said.

Ormillada said it was proper to keep their transaction from office hours and outside the compound of their present employer, the BPH.

One worry of the applicants is that “Lina Ng” could be a fictitious person. Ormillada said Ng could be contacted only via email and that only Lovitos claimed to have met her.

‘Help’ from the authorities
The BPH Maramag Grievance Committee investigated the possible involvement of Lovitos in the supposed illegal recruitment operation. Lovitos allegedly admitted lying and cried in the hearing. Ormillada said the result was vague as Lovitos remains an employee of the hospital.

The group has also filed a request for investigation at the Capitol but they are still waiting for action.

What really frustrated them, Ormillada said, is the government agency that they hoped could investigate the case. In November 2010, they filed a complaint against Lovitos and Noveno at the National Bureau of Investigation in Cagayan de Oro, with media coverage.

But more than a month later, they were told that the NBI lost the copy of their complaint. Ormillada said it added to their dismay.

Facing the Bukidnon media on April 13 was both a relief and a risk.

A television reporter who interviewed them promised but failed to air their story. They felt their problem was not given importance.

Still another of the nurses’ fear is that they suspect Noveno’s husband, a senior police official to have a hand in keeping his wife off the hook.

But they said they clamored only for justice and so that the public will know the threat of illegal recruitment.

They also needed their money back. (Walter I. Balane)

Remembering Bukidnon’s Fr. Alingal: Bishop Claver’s “The Empty Tomb of Kibawe”

By Bishop Francisco Claver, SJ

There is an empty tomb in Kibawe, Bukidnon. The townspeople built it for their murdered pastor, Father Godofredo Alingal, S.J. And they would have buried him there on Monday, April 20, a full week after he was cold-bloodedly shot dead by hired killers. But over the people’s protest and against all tradition, Father Bernas, Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the Philippines, decided to hand over the dead body of Father Alingal to his sorrowing 85-year-old mother for burial in Dapitan, the town of his birth in far-off Zamboanga del Norte. As Father Bernas explained it to the people at the final obsequies in Kibawe, he was simply honoring a mother’s tearful plea for the body of her son; the people had him in life—his mother should have him in death.

So his tomb in Kibawe is empty – just like Christ’s in Jerusalem the day he rose from the dead. There was no wondrous rising from the dead at Kibawe, true, but the promise was there, and the faith in that promise.

Nonetheless, there was a real resurrection. The people who came in throngs to the wake and funeral Mass of their pastor were not an intimidated, fearful people, cowed by the violence of his death (as it was supposed to be an object lesson to those who would stand up against the powerful). Their numbers spoke not of fear but of courage, not of despair but of hope, not of death but of life. A glorious rising of the spirit.

I pray that the empty tomb, no matter what other heinous crimes will still be perpetrated against the people of Kibawe, will always be a memorial and a pledge of their rising in the spirit from all that now, for them, spells death: poverty, exploitation, injustice, hatred, manipulation, fear, un-freedom, tyranny, violence – the list of evils is long… Death-dealing evils, all. And because Father Alingal sought in life to fight them, to lessen them, to ease the pain they brought his people, he met a death of violence. Like Christ. Though unlike Christ, he did not himself rise again.

But there are no two ways about it: there will be a rising from the dead, not only in the spirit but in the body as well. The conviction is unshakable, the faith and the hope firm. But still we mourn. And in our mourning, we ask: Was his death inevitable?

I would think it was. Just as the death on the cross. There was only one way Father could have avoided death: by running away, physically or figuratively. He could have kept his peace. He could have closed his eyes to the evils he saw around him. He could have given in to fear, yielding to threats on his life, abandoning his flock to ravening wolves. But no. “The good pastor lays down his life for his sheep.” The Man who died on the cross and rose again had set the pattern.

All of which makes us look deeper into ourselves, impels us to scrutinize more closely our commitment to the Gospel – its meaning, its demands, its challenges – in the real life conditions of Bukidnon, of the country as a whole, here and now.

Where do we go from here? There is, I am afraid, no other direction: the same way we have been going. There is no turning back. There can be no turning back. The road we have chosen to take over the past ten years as a Church is no easy road. And walking it, we know full well the toll it will wring from us, the burdens we must take on and bear, the pitfalls we must escape. These are no mere figures of speech. They are real—as real as the horror of Father Alingal’s violent end.

So we press on. And even as we press on, we take stock of how far we have come, where we must quicken our pace, how we can share and ease the burden of one another. We take stock – in reflective prayer, in common discernment.

Our prayer, our discernment – they will focus on the silent, empty tomb at Kibawe. For this moment, at least, in our life as a Church. Because for all its silence and emptiness, its message is loud and full. As loud and full as any of God’s thundering epiphanies from mountain tops. Yet clear and certain as that message is, we see there is, at its core, a mystery of great transcendence. And it is that mystery we must grapple with now – in faith, in deepest faith.

We start with this one fact: If there is anything certain in the many uncertainties that surround the murder of Father Alingal, it is this: He was gunned down because of his unflinching proclamation of the Gospel of Justice. And so we ask ourselves: Should we mute a little our own proclamation of that Gospel lest we suffer the same fate? Or should we push on relentlessly, not rest till all murderers and wrongdoers in Bukidnon are meted the sentence of justice that they deserve? Or is there a way of proclaiming and working for justice without taking upon ourselves the role of God’s avenging angel? The line between justice and revenge can become very thin indeed, reach the vanishing point altogether.

The above questions move us on to another fact: Despite his strong commitment to justice, Father Alingal never advocated violence – the violence that kills – and fell victim himself to it. And we ask: Should we avoid violence by any and all means, allow ourselves to be trampled on without so much as a whimper of protest? Or should we take up arms ourselves in justifiable self-defense, turn our conventos and churches, our towns and villages, into out-and-out arsenals? Or is there a way of fighting violence without ourselves going the way of violence? The line between fighting violence and doing violence can also disappear completely.

The tomb at Kibawe does confront us with these hard questions. We can answer them by saying we must suffer injustice and violence patiently, all that matters is the reward exceedingly great in heaven. Or alternatively we can say: We must not tolerate injustice, and if the only way to stop it is to kill the perpetrators of injustice, kill we must in justified violence.

But I doubt these are the kind of answers the empty tomb of Kibawe points to. Nor that other empty tomb on whose witness our whole faith rests. I doubt they are the answers either that have been building up in recent years in our communities of faith all over Bukidnon.

If they are not, what is?

There is a clear answer indicated, I believe, in the two facts noted above about Father Alingal’s death – or, better, life: He was for justice, actively, uncompromisingly. He was also against violence, just as actively, just as uncompromisingly. If he had but reneged on the one, he might be alive today, his enemies not finding any compelling reason to kill him. If he had championed the other, he might not have been defenseless himself before the guns of his assailants. His yes to justice, his no to violence – these are the hard facts of the life of the man whose murdered body was meant to fill the lonely tomb at Kibawe.

Father Alingal’s answer, I believe, is a perfect exemplification of the consensus that arose from our last general Prelature meeting in February of priests and religious, lay leaders and Church workers. At that meeting we faced up to the problem of armed power in Bukidnon and its consequences for ourselves and our people. The consensus was an option for, to put it into a formula, total vulnerability. In effect, it was a rejection of violence as a way of righting wrongs and an affirmation of the Prelature’s thrust for justice. We said no to the “salvaging” of the military, to the “liquidation” of the NPA; yes to the continued striving for justice and the peace that comes through justice.

From a sheerly human – intellectual, political, ideological – point of view, we knew the option made no sense. We saw clearly that by our open disavowal of the violence of both the military and the NPA and all other armed powers, we were putting ourselves completely at their mercy. Worse, we were inviting, even provoking, the very violence we were rejecting by our insistence on the forceful doing of justice. And possibly, worst of all, we arrived at the option in the clear-eyed conviction that we would never be able to bring about full justice in society but for all that we would have to keep striving mightily for it – even unto death.

It does not make sense. Except in the context of a faith that is able to make sense out of the contradictions of the cross and the empty tomb and accept their implications for human living.

Weakness is our strength, vulnerability our power, death our life. There is mystery here – deep, unfathomable. We see it in the empty tomb of Father Alingal at Kibawe. And we see its meaning only in the all-encompassing mystery of Christ’s own empty tomb. Only people of faith can take it.

And we must be that people.

Francisco F. Claver, SJ
Malaybalay, Bukidnon
April 26, 1981

(Copy of the piece obtained by Bukidnon News from Fr. Mat Sanchez, SJ)

30 years after Fr. Alingal’s death: Bukidnon remembers a man in search of justice through peaceful means

MALAYBALAY CITY – In a reunion among at least 1,400 church lay miniters or alagad, Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon parish priest Fr. Mat Sanchez reminded church workers of the life and death of his fellow Jesuit slain priest Godofredo Alingal in time for the 3oth anniversary of his death.

He told Bukidnon News the slain priest is best remembered for choosing the path of “active non-violence” despite the violence faced by the people of Bukidnon during the Martial Law years.
Alingal was the parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Church in Kibawe, Bukidnon, and the director of the parish’s Stella Matutina Academy. He was shot and killed at the age of 58 in 1981, during the martial law era. He was known for defending the rights of poor farmers in the town.
On April 13, 1981, the Monday before Easter, five unidentified men, two bearing revolvers and three others masked in handkerchiefs, entered the rectory of the priest.
A minute later, he was shot in the chest and killed. Alingal has served Kibawe, Bukidnon for 13 years.
“He opted he active non-violent way instead of resorting to violence, or not doing anything at all,” Sanchez added.
In his homily during the mass on the second day of the lay minister’s gathering, Sanchez said Alingal showed the way to peace by not supporting armed struggle as an alternative to the despotic regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.
He said Alingal’s life and death later became a threat to those who abused the people during Martial Law.
Sanchez reflected on the “Empty Tomb in Kibawe,” a piece written by the late Bukidnon bishop Francisco Claver on Alingal’s death.
Claver’s popular piece cited the tomb built by the parishioners for their slain priest. It was not used because Alingal’s remains were buried in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte his hometown upon request of his mother.
The late bishop wrote that Kibawe’s empty tomb for Alingal was like Christ’s empty tomb during the resurrection.
“There was no wondrous rising from the dead in Kibawe, true, but the promise was there, and the faith in that promise,” Claver added, as quoted by Sanchez.
Sanchez said Alingal’s death and his way of resurrection came in the people’s hope and leaving their fears to fight against abusers during Martial Law.
“The people became courageous by the hope the priest has inspired,” he added.
Soon, he added, people started talking more about the military and the rebel abuses in Church and town gatherings.
“It was sort of an early form of people power back in 1981,” Sanchez said.

Hermogenes Cadiz, 71, a farmer and lay minister from Kibawe and one of Alingal’s alagads, said the priest earned the ire of some businessmen at that time who were affected by the church’s campaign against loan sharks and irregular business practices like inaccurate weighing scale for the town’s grain buy and sell industry.
But he clarified that there were two angles to his death, one by hired killers by those he offended in his campaign and, the other, the rebels.
Bur Cadiz said Alingal’s death failed to stop the people’s resolve to go against abuses during the Martial Law years.
“It was clear that Fr. Alingal was following the church’s teachings on peace and non-violence. He fought against oppressors, both in uniform and the rebels,” he said.
He said Alingal’s defense of the rights of poor farmers earned him the dislike of political and military officials in the area.

The Sojourners magazine reported that on April 20, about 4,000 local farmers and their families attended Father Alingal’s funeral, despite lingering fears of more repression.
“Some of them even organized a procession to the funeral with banners, including one that read, “Is death the answer for speaking for justice?”
Claver said Alingal could have avoided death had he chosen to remain silent.
“He could have closed his eyes to the evils he saw around him. He could have given in to fear, yielding to threats in his life, abandoning his flock to the ravening wolves. But no,” he said.
“He was for justice, actively, uncompromisingly. He was also against violence, just as actively, just as uncompromisingly,” Claver said in his piece written a week after Alingal’s funeral. (Walter I. Balane)

Dengue preparedness up in Bukidnon PDRRMC meet

MALAYBALAY CITY (12 April) – Preparations for a dengue
outbreak in Bukidnon will top the agenda in a meeting of the
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council slated on
April 13.

Dr. Josephine Ibalio, chair of the Department of Health’s
mosquito-borne disease program in Bukidnon on Friday said that in 2009
she had proposed for inclusion in the provincial budget at least P6
million for dengue.

She said the proposal was included in the Provincial Integrated Plan
for Health which she helped prepare as a member of the technical
working group on dengue control.

She said the proposal was disapproved but added she will still push
for the fund’s inclusion in the 2011 budget.

The budget was supposed to be used to buy platelet separators,
clinical refrigerators, and other equipment for blood banking, and for
information and education campaign.

Municipal health officers also recommended the purchase of an
ambulance and fumigators for rural health units.

Ibalio said the provincial government must have at least a
supplemental budget for dengue and not just rely on calamity funds in
case an outbreak occurs.

“I disagree about preparing a budget for dengue on the need-basis only
or as an emergency (recourse). It will come too late (for the needed
action),” Ibalio told reporters in a briefing organized by the
Provincial Health Office.

She cited the experience this year when calls for a declaration of a
state of calamity took long and the resolution only came after the
Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) had ruled that the
number of cases had dropped.

“One lesson from this years’ experience is to declare the state of
calamity right away (when the cases soar up) like in July (2010),” she

Bukidnon did not declare a state of calamity this year following a
check on the statistics of dengue cases. The Provincial Health Office
said many of the cases counted were not confirmed to be dengue

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier announced he has allotted P25 million
to the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center for a separate ward for
tropical diseases like dengue.

But Gov. Alex Calingasan announced during the project’s groundbreaking
on March 26 that it will be used for the construction of additional
private wards at the hospital. (Walter I. Balane)

A grab from an ad campaign against dengue from a DILG webpage