Random Thoughts

PD’S HISTORIC APPEARANCE – We rejoiced and said “Hurrah!” when Senior Superintendent Ronald Lee, acting police director of Pangasinan, attended the KBP Forum at the PIA office in Dagupan City, for the first time.

The media gathering for news and current affairs issues happens every Thursday. It is sometimes held at dzRD Sonshine Radio Station.

Why did we rejoice at PD Lee’s attendance? Because we have been longing to have no less than the top boss in any government agency or office invited to grace the forum.

It’s entirely different if no less than the boss is around to answer media queries.

For the longest time, no police PD ever attended the KBP forum (if my memory serves me right). Lagi na lang mga subordinates nila ang pinapadala, like their spokesperson or their deputy police director for operations (DPDO) or info officer.

So when PD Lee showed up, accompanied by KBP suki, Supt. Jackie Candelario, DPDO and spokesman of the police and Chief Inspector Norman Florentino, the new head of the Police Community Relations Branch of the Pangasinan Police Office, I said it was “historic”.

The questions from the media were plenty, especially that everyone was eager to know about the reloaded Double Barrel anti-illegal drugs campaign of the PNP.

Lee was open to questions and he answered them all satisfactorily, I must say.

He promised to be back, when invited again, if his schedule would permit it. I think he enjoyed the media interaction and stayed long for simple salo-salo of pancit and loaf bread after the program.

This is a lesson to all heads of government offices or agencies. Please come when invited by KBP Pangasinan to its forum.  We want to hear from you for the sake of our listeners and readers.

No obligations whatsoever.  Your attendance is enough.— Tita Roces

 

THE SMOKING BAN — We heard that the writing career of our media colleague Dino Zabala (bless his soul), a columnist of the Regional Examiner, was cut short by lung cancer obviously caused by his long years of cigarette smoking.

Curiously, his death came at about the same time President Rodrigo Duterte was about to sign an executive order prepared by the Department of Health banning cigarette smoking nationwide.

The proposed EO, which the President is still pondering whether to sign it or not, or to simply water it down to minimize its adverse effect to the economy, not only bans smoking in public places, which include parks, market places and bus stations, but also indoors such as private vehicles.

The DOH believes that banning cigarette smoking can save million lives in this country from cancer and will prolong their lives but the President may be thinking of the many repercussions that such a ban would cause especially to the economy.

Note that in the northern part of the country alone, tobacco is a top earner and the durable Ilocanos and Pangasinenses are not prepared to lose it at this time. Imagine the many people who will lose their livelihood and income if the ban is enforced nationwide.

Though they already knew early on that tobacco planting is already a sunset industry, farmers in the north have yet to be told what alternative crop that could replace their tobacco, and be profitable.

Then, tobacco traders as well as cigarette manufacturers will be out of business if the Ilocanos and Pangasinenses stop planting Virginia and burley tobacco once the demand for their products decline dramatically.

Stores and vendors depending on their sale of cigarettes will also be displaced.

These and other reasons perhaps are what make Mr. Duterte hold back in signing the EO. There must be a middle ground to benefit the health of Filipinos and the tobacco industry to the satisfaction of all Filipinos, rich and poor alike.

Least I be misconstrued as defending cigarette smoking, I am not a smoker. But I don’t want my other media colleagues to suffer the same fate that Dino had. May his situation serves as fair warming to my smoking colleagues.

It may be difficult to stop smoking but believe you may, I was once a smoker when I was assigned in Baguio for five long years where I made smoking my defense against the cold temperature.

When my next assignment brought me back home to Dagupan, I felt there was no need any more to smoke. I stopped.  – Leonardo Micua

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