Dateline Manila: Proud to be an Atenean in Zambo City PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 12 December 2014 11:43

BY Sammy Santos


We had a good time during the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) alumni homecoming weekend and we are looking forward to attending the same alumni festivities next year.

Kudos to ADZU President Fr. Karel San Juan, Alumni Relations and Development Office Director Christine B. Velasquez-Calunod and ADZU Alumni Association outgoing President Fred Dalipe for the successful holding of the three-day alumni homecoming last week. We extend the same best wishes to incoming ADZU Alumni Association President Ed Buendia.

We were impressed by what we saw, not only the physical and infrastructure developments in its La Purisima Ateneo campus but also on the quality and direction that the Ateneo education was providing its students.

Likewise, we were impressed by the involvement of the Ateneo community in the efforts to rebuild a better Zamboanga City after that infamous attack by rogue elements of the Moro National Liberal Front (MNLF) on the city in September last year.

As a student in the ADZU until the early 1980s, I remember the school’s commitment to social justice and its relentless efforts to train young men and women who can bring social change to Philippine society.

At that time, the country was up against a ruthless dictatorship that triggered the beginnings of the now-four-decades-old Mindanao war, and Ateneo students were in the forefront in the clamour for change. The same can be said of the students of the ADZU students today. The clamour for change and the campaign for peace can be felt in almost all corners of the campus.

Outside the campus, we are also proud that Ateneans occupy influential positions in the both the private and public sectors. Key officials in the city government led by Mayor Beng Climaco are Ateneans as well as a majority of the members of the City Council. The city’s top business leaders are also Ateneans. These factors make one proud be an Atenean in Zamboanga City.

* * * *

Senate tidbits: The Senate on Tuesday adopted two resolutions recognizing National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose and newly crowned Miss Earth Jamie Herrell for their outstanding contributions to the country.

In Resolution No. 1045, the Senate commended Jose for his distinguished contributions to literature and journalism and noted his “artistic and literary genius,” as well as “his perseverance to instil national pride through the arts.”

Born in Rosales, Pangasinan, on December 3, 1924, Jose is considered one of the country’s most prominent writers in the English language. His works have been translated into 22 languages, including Czech, Indonesian, French, Korean, Russian, Latvian and Dutch.

Jose received numerous accolades, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Pablo Neruda Award, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award. Last week, he was promoted to the rank of Officer in France’s Order of Arts and Letters. He was previously awarded the rank of Chevalier (Knight) in 2001. Jose was bestowed the title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature in 2001.

“He has been an inspiration to several generations of writers and journalists through his essays, his role as a publisher, his lectures, his iconic bookshop, Solidaridad, and his founding of the Philippine chapter of the PEN, an international organization of poets, writers and novelists,” the Senate resolution stated.

On the other hand, Senate Resolution No. 1039 congratulated Jamie Herrell for winning the Miss Earth 2014 competition on November 29 at the University of the Philippines Theater in Diliman, Quezon City.

Miss Philippines Jamie Herrell was crowned Miss Earth 2014 last November 29.

The Senate resolution recognized Herrell’s achievement of besting 83 other candidates from all over the world to win the prestigious title. The Cebuana beauty is the second Filipina to bag the Miss Earth title. Karla Henry, also a Cebuana, won in 2008.

Herrell also took home three special awards including Miss Earth Hannah’s Beach Resort, Best in Swimsuit, and Sun for Miss Earth. The Miss Earth competition was organized in 2001 to promote environmental awareness.

* * * *

Still at the Senate, the proposed P2.606 trillion national budget for fiscal year 2015 was approved by the bicameral conference committee Tuesday after revisions were made by senators on the version approved earlier the House of Representatives.

Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the approved budget has kept the original amount as proposed by Malacanang. He, however, said senators made certain realignments amounting to P72.542 billion, a big chunk of which came from the Unprogrammed Fund earmarked for the proposed buyout of the MRT 3.

In a statement, Escudero said the House version proposed that the MRT 3 acquisition amounted to P53.9 billion. From this original amount, the bicameral panel only restored P7.428 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the transit system. Also, P6.520 billion was retrained for the payment of taxes of MRT 3 in connection with its BOT contract. The panel also retained P4.4 billion for the remaining equity buy out of the MRT 3.

The biggest realigned item totalling to P20 billion went to the rehabilitation fund to cover Yolanda-struck areas and other areas hit by past disasters.

Other realignments to the budget went to Trade Remedies Fund amounting to P4.384 billion; P10.694.754 for the incremental revenue from excise for the Department of Health; and P472.485 million for the terminal leave pay of Philippine Postal Office employees.

The 2015 budget has adopted the Senate version’s definition of savings in full compliance with the Supreme Court decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).