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By Benjie R. Pangan

At Close Range

Sunday, February 2, 2014

THE National Government should stop trumpeting the success of the peace deal arrived at between the Republic of the Philippines and the representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Malaysia last week. Just when the peace documents were signed and sealed, another outbreak of skirmishes was orchestrated by the sourgraping Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) obviously still guided by the subborn Nur Misuari.

If at all, it is tentative peace with the Moros laying the conditions and parameters of the peace talk. Knowing the government peace panel to be gullible, the Moros naturally have the edge in the negotiation.

Already, the death toll is rising and many more lives will be exacted if the peace talks will get stalled along the way.


A prominent national columnist repeatedly declared: "Never engage a Moro in a deal. As much as possible, don't trust him."

The government peace panel should have factored in the MNLF faction in the peace talks, despite the presence and validity of the peace accord previously forged by the government panel and that of Nur Misuari.

And here comes into the scene the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF. Wanting to make its presence felt, it is currently creating trouble in the Southern Philippines.

The Moros want decolonization or secession from the country. Fine, if the dismemberment will bring about true and lasting peace.

Let them rule themselves and good riddance to these troublesome factions. We just don't need them.

The government should focus its manpower and resources to more important endeavors rather than waste them on counterproductive activities.


It was a grand and lavish extravaganza had by all Mabalaquenos and visitors last Saturday, February 1 at Xevera Complex, Xevera Tabun, Mabalacat City as the Caragan Festival was launched to start the month's festivities. In conjunction with the Ms. Mabalacat 2014 beauty pageant, the event shepherded by master impresario Jun Magbalot, all were awed and impressed by the grandiose presentation of Ms. Mabalacat hopefuls topped by Jinkee Serrano.

This year's board of judges, composed of two beauty queens, including Miss International Bea Rose Santiago, a dance guru and prominent people from different backgrounds added luster and prestige to the Enchanted Kingdom-inspired presentation. The choreography was flawless as were the dances executed by the Douglas Nierras-tutored group.

The lighting was excellent, the pacing of the program fast and seamless and the sound system was audibly perfect. The music was apt for the sequences which told of fairy tales. The setting, everything was pleasing to the eyes and ears of those who attended especially to King Boking.

The 2014 staging of Ms. Mabalacat was the grandest and most elaborate, bar none. It was well attended and worth the cost.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 03, 2014.


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