Random Thoughts

SO LONG PNA – The Philippine News Agency observed its 45th anniversary on March 1 at its headquarters at the 2nd floor of Media Center in Quezon City. Forty-five years ago, it was then known as Philippines News Agency.

(Trivia: The letter “s” was lost in transition when the Cory government took over after the Edsa revolution. Someone who typed Cory’s executive order extending the life of PNA, forgot the letter “s”! And, that’s how the name Philippine News Agency came about).

I was part of the team that started PNA in 1973. I was a fresh college graduate when I joined the agency 16 days after its founding, making me one of its pioneers that served it continuously for 45 years.

I actually officially retired on November 6, 2013 but having no one to fill my post at that time, I was asked to continue serving till March 1, 2018, the 45th anniversary of the PNA.

One of my assignments as a ‘balik-retiree’ was to help prepare a book for the 45th anniversary. I was one of three ex-PNAers given the privilege to write it. I finished my last assignment for the book in time and that marked the start of my long overdue retirement finally.

I am happy that my office finally agreed to retire me for the second and last time. It was time to pass on the baton to the new guards that will man the ramparts of PNA in Pangasinan and here in Region 1.

I must say the 45 years that I spent with the agency was replete with too many painstaking sacrifices as well as unforgettable memories and experiences that were sometime risky but fun.

This included joining the military and police raids of marijuana plantations on board helicopters that brought out the plants from the mountainous areas in Benguet and Mountain Province.

There was also a time during the early months of Cory regime when I was asked to interview rebels in their mountain hideouts in Mabini and Dasol.

My work as a professional journalist brought me to many places: Manila, San Fernando, Pampanga, Baguio, La Union and finally Dagupan where my family made a home.

It also brought me overseas, like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia as well as to New Zealand twice and Australia once while on vacation from work but actually were work in progress for me. As a journalist, the bug hits you more when you are out of your comfort zones.

Now that I am finally out, I can now heave a sigh of relief. I have more time for my family now although most of my children, by the way, are living abroad. It means I will now have more time to visit them.

I thank all the people who I worked with starting from the late Jose L. Pavia, founder of the PNA, the early editors who are now ex-PNAers like me, and today’s editors, and all my colleagues during my long stint with the agency.

I know PNA is in much better hand now under President Duterte through PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar. (Incidentally, when the good secretary came to Pangasinan in June, I was informed by one of his assistant secretaries that Sec. Andanar considers PNA as his “baby”.  I replied – “If it is, then why I am alone in Pangasinan.”).

So long PNA! It was good while it lasted.  I now look forward to a reunion in June which Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, who is also an ex-PNAer, promised to host for thesecond time.

P.S. PNA has a brand new website whose additional feature is the daily PNA newscast, something that was missing during the past administrations. – Leonardo Micua



TWO FACES OF THE CAPITOL – The Capitol Building is no doubt the most beautiful in the country. Ditto with the Urduja House, the official residence of Pangasinan governor.


We applaud the efforts of then Gov. Amado Espino Jr. for taking the lead in rehabilitating these edifices. In addition, the historic Lingayen beach and the Veterans Park are also among the province’s tourist destinations.


Truth is, the Capitol complex is, especially the ones mentioned here, are among the photographers’ favorite places for pre-nup photo-shoots. They are no doubt amazing and sights to behold. They are among Pangasinan’s pride.


But a closer look around the vicinity gives one another look, a different story, a different sight that needs urgent solution.


I remember raising this issue before and I’m calling again the attention of our Capitol leaders.  Recent visits in this seat of government again pricked my heart. It looks like the action was not sustained.


While I was enjoying my lunch at my long-time favorite Adoring’s carinderia located between the Assessor’s and Provincial Health Office, I was approached by two persons begging for alms separately.


They are not the typical image of beggar forced to do fasting because food is not available. One was a teenager while the other was a woman in her 50s. Maayos naman ang itsura nila.


Their presence going around, approaching diners, begging for money, made me wonder: What is the government doing? Bakit may ganito sa Kapitolyo?


So I thought a livelihood program for their kind would help. A Chinese proverb said, “You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”


The young beggar should be in school. Or both should not be begging for livelihood.

Besides, di ba meron tayong Anti-Mendicancy Law?


A quick research showed that Presidential Decree 1563 signed in 1978 is still existing. Bawal ang mamalimos at magpalimos.


If mendicants are allowed in the area, the thrust to promote the Capitol complex as a tourist destination is defeated.


May dalawang mukha sa Kapitolyo—isang maayos at isang namamalimos.


In recent past, we had a family outing in Lingayen Beach, behind the Capitol Building. While we were about to bring out our baon, a woman approached us begging for food.


I asked in Pangasinan, “How can I give you food since I have no extra container/plastic where I can place it for you?” The beggar, slowly took something from her bag, said, “Nya ay madam, ikarga yo lad dya (Here madam, put it here).”


She gave me a plate! Girl scout ang ale, laging handa. Praktisado pa. — Eva Visperas

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