By: Modesto Palacios Sa-onoy
LET’S TAKE note first of the dismay of many that President Aquino did not declare June 18 as a special non-working holiday. There are several speculations why, but should we worry? Then October 19 was not a holiday and we commemorated just the same.
Reports say Bacolod Cong. Anthony Golez opposed the proclamation for the holiday and because of his connections with some bureaucrats in Malacañang the draft of the proclamation was changed to a denial with Golez’s arguments.
Remember he was Gloria Arroyo’s spokesman and has entrenched friends there which he even boasted before the 2010 elections he could tap to help him even under a different party president.
If this be true then he has done Bacolod a disservice though I don’t blame him. He is after all not a real Bacolodnon, a “banwahanon”. I supported his claim of residency in 2010 even if he is not of this city because he possessed the legal qualifications for the post.
But legal qualification is one thing; a real bond of unity with the “kasimanwa” is another. When people who share this bond meet, no matter where, they immediately have a sense of oneness and even develop a support system. I need not explain this because this is ingrained in our culture.
Some though use and exploit this “kasimanwa” bond for political and business interest.
One issue against Golez is that he is not a real Bacolodnon, a “tumandok’ or native since he is from Pontevedra, a town south kilometers of Bacolod.
The actuation of Golez only validates the charge. He could have worked together with the city officials in a show of unity and “pangkasimanwa” since the law he cites does not prohibit the commemoration of the day the Bacolod charter was signed in other days.
In the absence of a clear cut prohibition or mandate to make it October 19 and if Golez is a real kasimanwa he could have ignored the triviality and taken the side of Bacolod officials.
Neither also is there a law saying the celebration must be on October 19.
Now let me explain this award. There are questions and even some kind of mystery in the Ang Banwahanon Award so that this column is intended to help people understand what is and perhaps more Bacolodnons can be nominated next year.
I congratulate this year’s Ang Banwahanon Awardees – Pamela Torre Henares, Lucy Ponce and Baguer Villaruz who received their awards last night at the Bacolod Government Center. Leonito “Diutay” Lopue, committee chairman and Mayor Bing Leonardia presented the awards.
A Board of Judges processes documents about the nominees submitted by citizens of Bacolod. The board recommends which nominee has complied with the criteria set by the city ordinance to the Ang Banwahanon Committee which either accepts or rejects the nomination although normally the Committee confirms the awardees.
The process of selection has been tightened and in-depth inquiry and discussion are conducted on these personalities. They deserve this award, the highest that the city can give to its citizen for exceptional personal service to the people of the city. Their work is, as mandated by city ordinance must have an impact in the lives of people and the community.
Ang Banwahanon (The Citizen) Award is conferred to recognize the personal service and commitment of a person (it is not given to any entity) to help improve the lives of people or the community in such a way that their work creates an impact or influence in their ways of doing things.
Success in business or profession can be the jumping port for nomination, but the clinching points for the award is personal service that has a significant impact in the community.
Created in 1974, the Award has been conferred on over 100 people, some long gone to the Great Beyond and others in other shores. Their collective achievements can fill a good-sized book of what a person, given his circumstance in life and work can do for others, though this is limited to directly impact on the city.
Awardees are of national and international stature, others not so, but no matter how lowly or prestigious they might be their personal work for the city and its people are the most important consideration and not national or international stature.
Many wealthy and successful personalities and professionals have been rejected because their life’s work had been limited to their personal good or welfare.
There were past controversies about the awardees. This was due to the lack of specific criteria and the decision was left to the committee that was appointed only for the specific year and thus no tradition to guide the committee. Personal popularity, business and professional success guided the committee.
This has been corrected by ordinance which prescribed the parameters and tightened the screening process.