Overcome Fear by Keeping Faith in Our Lord and Staying Pure with His Holiness

There is so much fear in people’s minds nowadays mainly due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus, or specifically COVID-19. Not only has the coronavirus infected and killed many people worldwide, it is also bringing down most forms of business or economic sectors such as tourism, investments and manufacturing.

Here in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte suspended classes in Metro Manila for the days of March 10 to 14 as the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that there are now locals infected by coronavirus.

Considering these mentioned developments are only a few of many negative developments related to the spreading coronavirus, they have still proven to drag down a lot of people deep inside. Instead of being optimistic, those who believe in the danger of coronavirus are feeling lost, scared, depressed and even panicking.

Even though the danger of COVID-19 is real, I am not scared at all and there is no good reason for me to be afraid and panicky. Why? Because my faith and trust in the Lord remains as strong as ever and I know for a fact that God will never leave us nor forsake us. It is faith in the Lord – not religion, not unbelief, not feelings and certainly not idols – that will spare us Christians from the danger and disasters of this screwed up world we live in. Instead of hiding or spending our time on our smartphones, we all should still be reading God’s Word in the Holy Bible and keep praying to Him no matter what happens.

To puts things into perspective, let’s look at key verses of Chapter 91 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by the day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

Psalm 91: 1-10 (NKJV)

The scriptures above make it clear that our Heavenly Father is a caring, loving and protective creator and we, as His creations, need to be faithful to Him and keep serving Him. Remember that in emphasizing His love for us, God sent His Son Jesus who spread the good news, died on the cross, got resurrected and flew to Heaven. Jesus saved humanity! He redeemed us! He saved us! Jesus made people realize their true purposes as God’s creations!

Verses 9 and 10 of Psalm 91 emphasize the promise of divinely protected health. The passage promises protection from sickness as a blessing of the redeemed life. Always remember these details and for as long as you remain faithful and trusting in the Lord while applying His Word in your personal life, you will be protected from harm, poverty and disease. Not even coronavirus will bring you down.

It is essential to remember that fear is a weapon of Satan who never gave up in trying to neutralize Christians and make them fail in their relationship with God. Like past diseases, coronavirus struck fear into the hearts of many people around and those who panicked showed signs that their faith and trust in the Lord are weak. Coronavirus also made people panic and doing desperate acts like panic buying. What also come with panic buying are increased vehicular traffic on highways, increased physical presence of people in and out of the retailers (note: this incidentally would increase the risk of getting infected with COVID-19), increased air and noise pollution, and other risks of incidents.

The coronavirus paranoia shows how powerful fear is and why Satan is delighted to see people lose control of themselves and, at the same time, separate Christians from the Lord through their weakness. First of all, God did not just create us to be mere creations on Earth. He really wanted Earth to be filled with perfect beings which was what He planned with Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, Adam rebelled against God when he ate the fruit Eve gave him (which was the result of her getting tempted by the serpent to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil). This rebellion (note: God specifically commanded Adam to never eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) committed by Adam gave dominion to Satan and cursed humanity with sin, and this led to a downward spiral for the human race thousands of years later as recorded in the Holy Bible. As we know by now, God had a plan to redeem humanity by sending His Son Jesus into the world. It was through the acts and sacrifice of Jesus that humanity was saved and He proved God loves and cares for us. Jesus Himself stated that becoming born again is needed in order to see the kingdom of the Heavenly Father (read John 3: 3 in the Holy Bible).

God’s plan for His creation is so great, Satan will stop at nothing to take it all away by exploiting human weakness. Fear is a favorite weapon Satan uses along with unbelief, religion, idolatry, doubt, greed, hatred, covetousness, homosexuality, deception, division and temptation. Fear leads to anger, hatred, panic, desperation, resentment and the weakening of faith in the Lord.

As Christians who were born again (accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior), we are targets of the enemy. Satan, who was defeated long ago when Jesus redeemed humanity, will strike against each of us through feelings, fear, pressure, symptoms and negativity. For us Christians, living in holiness with Jesus in our hearts becomes challenging due to our obligations such as careers, businesses, family matters and other worldly matters. As if that was not hard enough, our screwed-up world has lots of religion-blinded authorities who teach the wrong theology that God is in control of everything and allows bad things to happen to the innocent as well as to His own children (us Christians). And then these same authorities teach people to worship idols (both the living and those man-made objects like statues, statuettes, images and relics) which is sinful (refer to 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10), to practice religious traditions and rituals, and to follow a bunch of rules that were not really part of the Holy Bible. Being religious is not the same as being faithful to the Lord.

As I mentioned before, we Christians need faith in the Lord, not religion, not idolatry, not traditions, not rituals, not sacraments, not feelings, and certainly not unbelief. By being faithful with Him, we each can establish a personal relationship with God which is strictly off-limits to others (even your own biological family members have no right whatsoever to interfere in your relationship with the Lord).

Let’s read these scriptures from the Holy Bible.

Therefore He says: “Awake you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5: 14 (NKJV)

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”

Luke 21: 34 (NKJV)

The scriptures above clearly show that as we have been redeemed by Jesus, He warned against spiritual lethargy and wants us to be always ready for His return. To live in holiness with Jesus in our hearts, read God’s Word through the Holy Bible, pray to Him constantly and dedicatedly (which include praying in tongues), preach His Word around, help save the unsaved and lost souls, keep trusting Him and maintain strong faithfulness in Him are all part of preparing ourselves for Jesus’ promised return.

Next scripture…

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

2 Corinthians 4: 3-4 (NKJV)

The above scripture makes clear why there are many unsaved and lost souls around the world. In verse 4, Satan blinds the minds of people (including the ones who practice religion, idolatry, traditions and rituals) and the sad thing is that they choose not to believe which results their failure to see and realize the glory of Christ.

Once a man realizes the light of God and starts being faithful to Him, Satan gets defeated.

Yes, you read that right! Christians who are edified by God can defeat Satan and keep resisting him each time he tries to strike back. By having powerful faith in the Lord and following the examples of Jesus, we Christians can truly live in holiness and in victory over the enemy! Fear becomes nothing!

Having lived an old life of religion, idolatry, traditions, rituals and unbelief myself, I can say that I was hounded by darkness all the way. Since the day I got saved I realized that faith in the Lord is truly essential and true Christian living is simpler than I thought. My becoming born again is the greatest miracle in my whole life and through Jesus, I became a new creation free from the darkness of unbelief, religion, idolatry, traditions, sacraments and rituals that burdened me. I also realized that with the Lord, Satan and any other forms of evil can be defeated not once but multiple times!

The following scripture will compel you to be with Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (NKJV)

Now let’s look at the Passion Translation.

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (TPT)

To put things in perspective, being a new creation means having a fresh, new start spiritually. By realizing your true purpose under God, you are in a race for holiness, a race to meet His High Call. To live in holiness with Jesus in your heart. This leads me to the next scripture.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12: 2 (NKJV)

We live in a chaotic and screwed-up world. As we live in the flesh, we are vulnerable to the trouble around us and that only means we need to resist the fear sparked by Satan that started the mess. The loser Satan thinks he can use this physical world against God by going after us and trying to defeat us spiritually. All the more reason why we should NOT be conformed to this world and we must focus always on maintaining holiness under God. We Christians have the Holy Spirit already in our hearts, and we should always be led by the Holy Spirit. We must live with purity under Jesus. The truth is that the path to godly living is not complicated, nor is it energized by our flesh. We the believers should always submit to God’s provisions and ways.

The next scripture will remind you of the battle with Satan.

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

1 Peter 5: 8-9 (NKJV)

You are definitely not alone with your effort to resist Satan and living on as a Child of God. You are part of the Body of Christ (the church – refer to 1 Corinthians 12: 12-30) and it is essential for us to keep living in holiness, serving the Lord (who will never abandon us nor forsake us – read Deuteronomy 31: 6) and always ensure that the enemy will NEVER win. Satan can use unbelief, temptations or religion (with idolatry, traditions, rituals, sacraments and the wrongful theology) as weapons against you but as long as you know you were saved and got anointed by the Lord, and as long as you know your true purpose as a Christian, you will get to defeat Satan and beat him again on each and every subsequent attack he throws at you. Always maintain strong faith in God! God is the source and the following scripture explains why.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1: 17 (NKJV)

James 1: 17 emphasizes that the Heavenly Father is not responsible for human sin. God is in fact the source of all good, He is also faithful, He is just and He always keeps His promises. God’s promise to Abraham of a son (Isaac) through his wife Sara is one of the most notable promises ever made and fulfilled. Behold the existence of Israel which not only has the Holy Land but also its own State. We Christians have a goal to support the State of Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Whatever promise God made to you, rest assured He will fulfill it in due time. Don’t let the devil or anyone representing darkness fool you. Don’t let fear overpower you. You definitely do not want to settle for less knowing that God has a plan for you complete with blessings coming.

Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1: 12-14 (NKJV)

The above scripture emphasizes that we Christians are qualified to receive blessings from the Lord and this includes Kingdom Wealth. As citizens of God’s Kingdom, we will each be rewarded according to our respective work. Lord Jesus Himself said in Revelations 22: 12And behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.

Lord Jesus Himself pulled us out of darkness and helped us break the chains that symbolized danger, death, sickness, hostile situations, wickedness and other negative elements the enemy used on us. As Christians, we have been freed and saved by Jesus. We are new creations, citizens of God’s Kingdom and are living in victory under Jesus whom we worship directly (note: we are not hindered by a religion-led hierarchy which itself only exists to get in the way between a Christian and the Lord).

On with the next scripture…

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 (NKJV)

We Christians each have a race to endure and finish. The race, if you are imagining sports competitions like foot races, is obviously about our souls and the goal of achieving holiness. This means laying aside anything that would hinder the progress being made. Avoiding the committing of sin is a must! However we race, we should not focus on each other as contestants or competitors at all since we are God’s children and citizens of his Kingdom. Instead, when we race, we should always focus on Lord Jesus who saved us.

As part of living in holiness, we Christians should do more than just attending church every Sunday. For one thing, going to church on Sunday is to be done not as an obligation, not as a tradition but rather to prioritize our relationship with God by truly connecting with Him right in the presence of the many members of the spiritual family. Apart from Sunday worship, we need to attend, as much as possible, seminars and prayer meetings at church held during the weekdays. The learning of God’s Word is ever enduring and we need to keep on learning and applying the lessons into our respective lives. This is living in holiness! By doing these dedicatedly complete with strong faith in the Lord, fear as well as other forms of attacks launched against us by Satan will be futile! There is more to deepening our personal relationship with God. Let’s examine the next scripture below.

The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.

Psalm 145: 14-20 (NKJV)

It is clear in Psalm 145: 14-20 that God is gentle, loving, protective and caring for His children while remaining firm to punish those who are wicked. For us, His children, God really loves us and wants to bless us, and all we need to do is to keep submitting to Him, live in holiness and endure to honor, praise and serve Him. Those who sin and keep on doing what is evil and what pleases Satan will end up with doom. This should serve as a reminder that we Christians must make efforts to save the unsaved souls around the us by preaching God’s Word and magnifying the Lord to them. Eventually the unsaved souls will realize something and decide to reach out to God.

Going back to fear, we only need to fear God because it will lead to wisdom (read Proverbs 9: 10). All other forms of fear are to be rejected and resisted without question! This way, Satan is defeated yet again!

Another reason to constantly pursue holiness under the Lord is that God has a vision to make you and your church unstoppable and moving on driven by faith. God, after all, is the source of all vision, success, prosperity, progress and holiness. We Christians all need to humble ourselves to Him and to realize His vision for you, you need to tell Him to show it. For insight, read Jesus’ words in John 12: 26 and the Lord’s words in Jeremiah 33: 3.

Here’s one more scripture…

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV)

God truly loves us. When we His children commit errors, He makes ways to correct us. When we His children are troubled, he comes to us to help and pave the way for the better. For as long as we His children remain faithful to Him, God’s plans for each and every one us will manifest in due time. Knowing that God’s plans are definitely good, there is no more reason for us to be fearful and weak. Satan has been defeated and will only be defeated again and again.

As of this writing, we in this chaotic world are living in the middle of the storm caused by coronavirus COVID-19. There are people who are suffering from coronavirus and there were those who died. Still no matter what happens, we the faithful Christians have no reason to be scared and lose hope because the Lord is with us. Always maintain strong faith in Him, keep trusting Him, honor Him and thank Him for all the good and the care He keeps on providing us.

We all need to pray to the Lord and trust in Him that coronavirus COVID-19 will fade away, that no more people will be infected and those who are already infected will be spared. Don’t limit your prayer into asking (note: also you should not beg), but believe that God will do it. Trust the Lord! The fear that has crippled millions of people worldwide has gone far enough and already economies have slowed down. The time to keep standing with the Lord on ending this time of crisis is now! The coronavirus COVID-19 crisis is the battle that only the Lord can fight and conquer!

The Lord is our refuge, our protector and provider! Fear and all other negative elements are nothing when we the faithful are with God.

Let me conclude this post with this holy scripture. This one will be remembered for a long time.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41: 10 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from John Chicano by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano

20200201_211923.jpg
Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete John Leerams Chicano.

Since he first participated in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2017, John Leerams Chicano raked in notable honors for the Philippines and took his career in the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) even higher.

Today, Chicano is one of the highest-ranking members of the National Team of triathlon and this past December, he won the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games that was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (so close to his native Olongapo City). With that big victory, he established himself as Southeast Asia’s newest triathlon king replacing Nikko Huelgas (2015 and 2017 SEA Games gold medalist). It was also the big reward for the long road (about a decade) he literally took engaging in multisport events like triathlon and duathlon.

The glory continued the day after when Chicano, along with teammates Kim Mangrobang, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares collaborated to win another SEA Games gold for the Philippines in the Triathlon Team Mixed Relay event there at Subic Bay. That was another gold medal for Chicano making him a 3-time SEA Games medalist (two gold medals and one silver medal).

Recently I met Chicano and had a nice chat with him.

For you, my readers, here is a look at 3-time SEA Games medalist John Chicano.

A quick look at his background

John Chicano has been engaging in triathlon for many years now and has been a member of the Philippine team along the way. He represented the country in many events of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), most notably the annual Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). He also raced in other triathlon events organized by Bike King Philippines and other race organizers. On livelihood, he previously worked as a bike mechanic as well as a janitor. He now has his own family to support.

When it comes to triathlon at the SEA Games, he made his debut in the 2017 edition of the games held in Malaysia and won the silver medal in the individual men’s triathlon event next to teammate Nikko Huelgas who won the gold medal back then (note: Huelgas first won the SEA Games gold in 2015). His achievement was recognized by the media and the national government which in turn rewarded him (along with all other medalists) with cash incentives in accordance to Republic Act Number 10699.

Winning the SEA Games gold medal at Subic Bay

On the early morning of December 1, 2019, the SEA Games men’s triathlon event started with Chicano and Cebu-based teammate Andrew Kim Remolino representing the nation. After going through the pressure and enduring the pain of the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run event, Chicano won the gold medal in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds. Remolino followed with 1:55:03 to win the silver medal, completing the 1-2 punch for the Philippines.

“We were confident in the sense that we prepared well for the SEA Games which includes three months of training at Clark,” Chicano said. “While I was confident to win, there were a few moments of uncertainty since the big competition (men’s triathlon) could turn out to be unpredictable.”

During the December 1 event, Chicano and Remolino raced together during the 40-kilometer bike leg and on the spot they came up with a new strategy to win gold and silver. At that particular stage, another foreign competitor biked near them. Earlier in the swim leg, Remolino was the first to emerge from the sea while Chicano was 4th (an Indonesian and a Singaporean were slightly ahead of him). During the 10-kilometer run leg, Chicano and Remolino built up their lead as a country and, ultimately, he gave it his all to win the gold, literally upgrading from silver (2017 SEA Games). The victory was witnessed by the top sports officials, the coaches, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority officials, the spectators, corporate sponsors and, of course, Chicano’s family.

“It was a very happy moment for me to cross the finish line for the gold medal. I even felt like crying for happiness back then,” Chicano recalled the very moment he won the gold and became Southeast Asia’s best. “This was the big payback for almost ten years of effort racing in triathlon and growing to be stronger and more competitive. My triathlon effort and build-up started in 2010, preceded by biking in 2009. The feeling was so tremendous and happy.”

ChicanoBM
Chicano and teammate Andrew Kim Remolino on the sports section of the December 2, 2019 edition of Business Mirror.

During the medal awarding ceremony, Chicano thought deeply about his SEA Games achievement and that he could bring further honors to the nation (plus his locality) in the years to come. The day after that, Chicano and teammates Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe got tremendous spotlight together in the national newspapers which was expected considering their victorious achievements.

FB_IMG_1578142649605.jpg
Chicano (3rd from right) with his teammates who won medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games – (from L to R) Claire Adorna, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Mangrobang, Andrew Kim Remolino and Fer Casares. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page) 

His SEA Games gold medal achievement not only raked in praise from many, financial rewards also came in from the national government (RA 10699), the City Government of Olongapo, corporate sponsors and other generous parties. Chicano even got to visit the Philippine Senate and met with Senator Richard Gordon.

ChicanoMT
Chicano and Kim Mangrobang on the front page of the December 2, 2019 edition of the Manila Times.
ChicanoSubicBayCommunityCenter
Chicano with coach Melvin Fausto and Senator Richard Gordon. (photo source – Subic Bay Community Center Facebook page)

As of this writing, Chicano is strongly focused on triathlon and he believes that what he achieved so far as a triathlete, and also as Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete, will be remembered for a long time and perhaps inspire the next generation of Filipinos to excel in sports.

When it comes to the near future, Chicano will go to Australia very soon to attend the Annual General Meeting and Awards Night of the FilOz Triathlon Club as their Guest Speaker. After that, he will undergo triathlon training for a few more weeks there in Australia.

From this point on, I recommend you all to take a close look at Chicano in triathlon events both local and overseas. He is, after all, Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon king.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Kim Mangrobang by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!

20200103_162309.jpg
4-time Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) medalist and reigning triathlon queen of Southeast Asia Kim Mangrobang. (photo taken at Akrotiri, Commercenter, Muntinlupa City)

When triathlon (swim-bike-run) made its debut in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in late 2005 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone here in the Philippines, Marion Kim Mangrobang was still a teenager who witnessed the event as a spectator. Already a junior-level member of the Philippine triathlon team, she naturally cheered for her older teammates Ani De Leon and Sandra Araullo who represented the nation in the first-ever SEA Games triathlon event for women.

Fast forward to December 1, 2019, Mangrobang represented the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event (her 3rd SEA Games since 2015) which was also held at Subic Bay and, more notably, won the gold medal in front of a large cheering crowd (with coach Ani De Leon – Brown, the other Philippine team coaches, officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, PHISGOC and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority plus other important personalities watching near the finish line) followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe who copped the silver.

The winning streak concluded a day later when Mangrobang, 2015 SEA Games gold medalist Claire Adorna, 2019 SEA Games gold medalist John Chicano and Fer Casares combined their efforts to win the gold medal in the Triathlon Team Mixed Relay event which was held also there in Subic Bay. For the country, she won two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (note: the Philippines as a whole won 149 gold medals in the SEA Games it hosted) and got rewarded for it in return by the national government and by corporate sponsors.

FB_IMG_1578142678053.jpg
The entire Philippines got delighted on the morning of December 1, 2019 at Subic Bay when Kim Mangrobang successfully defended her title as Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete by winning the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon gold medal. In previous SEA Games, she won the silver medal in 2015 and her first gold medal in 2017. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page)
FB_IMG_1578142621755.jpg
Mangrobang with her 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon gold medal and the mascot. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page)
FB_IMG_1579490512994-1.jpg
Mangrobang with teammate John Chicano and other Philippine team athletes on the cover of the December 2, 2019 edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

As far as the SEA Games records go, Mangrobang won a total of four medals since her debut in 2015, specifically 3 gold medals (the first gold won in 2017) and 1 silver medal (won in 2015). In retrospect, her gold medal victory at Subic Bay was a successful defense of her gold medal achievement in the 2017 SEA Games which essentially established her as Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon queen.

That being said, I am very happy to present to you my feature interview of Kim Mangrobang which starts right now.

Kim Mangrobang’s background

Mangrobang was born in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 1991 to parents Richard (an engineer) and Dine (a manpower firm executive). Since the age of four, her family has been living in Santa Rosa, Laguna which is now a progressing city south of Metro Manila.

Mangrobang got into the sport of swimming as a result of her parents’ encouragement for her when she was little. She found sports to be an enjoyable pastime.

“As with most other parents, my mom and dad encouraged me to get into sports during the summer season when I was young. So I joined a swim team and along the way I felt I was playing given the aquatic aspect of swimming,” she recalled. “My teammates and I had fun with swimming and later I realized that swimming would be a serious form of competition.”

At the age of nine, she started swimming and eventually it became a daily part of her life similar with her teammates. As an elementary student, she continued swimming and eventually she became a varsity swimmer in her high school days (with the goal of making it in the Palarong Pambansa) and participated in many swimming competitions (between local sports clubs).

Being a member of her school’s swim team and of a separate swim club, Mangrobang learned a lot about competitive swimming related to national sports and inter-club competition. Along the way, she had to deal with a certain disadvantage of hers – her height.

“I really was a short girl back then. When I was twelve, my swimming coach noticed my height disadvantage and he figured out that it would be more helpful if I would try out with the Philippine team of triathlon,” she said.

That coach turned out to be none other than Abelardo “Abet” Alon-Alon who was a former national champion in triathlon as well as a former national team coach in the said sport. Historically, Alon-Alon was a standout in Philippine triathlon’s early years back in the 1990s His suggestion to Mangrobang to get into triathlon and into Philippine multisport turned out to be a blessing for her and the nation.

She immediately took part in a tryout (for the Philippine triathlon team) which was composed of a 1.5 kilometer swim and 3-kilometer run. Her swim time was 27 minutes and 36 seconds while she timed around 12 minutes in the run. She qualified and her membership with the Philippine triathlon team started on the junior (youth) level.

“That was the start of my new journey in sports and I realized that there were better opportunities in triathlon,” she recalled.

Triathlon career and rise in prominence

Gradually Kim Mangrobang redeveloped herself athletically under the guidance of triathlon coaches like Raul Cuevas (now heading race organizer Bike King Philippines), Peter Gonzales and Abet Alon-Alon to name a few. As she maintained her swimming, she learned to bike and run gaining valuable skills and experience. Before participating in triathlon, she engaged in aquathlon (swim-run) events.

At age thirteen, she took part in a Fit-and-Tri event for youth finishing 6th overall in a short distance aquathlon race held in Ayala Alabang Village. She finished 2nd to the last back then as she was still getting oriented. She went on to join a lot more aquathlon events later.

Her first-ever triathlon performance happened in another Fit-and-Tri event some time later. In that race, she finished 6th place. In further triathlon events, she gradually made her way up until reaching 1st place.

“To the best of my memory, I finished at around 4th place overall during the first year of competing in the Fit-and-Tri series. In the following year, I reached 1st place overall. Emerging 1st became normal for me in the years that followed, until I reached the age of fifteen or sixteen,” she recalled.

received_839837029792046.jpeg
Kim Mangrobang as a teenager way back in 2005. (photo contributed by Mangrobang)

In 2006, Mangrobang joined the Junior Elite race of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and finished 2nd. That event was her first time to compete with foreign triathletes her age and instead of feeling intimidated, she performed well and still enjoyed the experience. Her value as a member of the Philippine team grew more. That same year, she raced in the Asian Duathlon Championships held in Clark finishing 4th in the Junior Women contest.

At age seventeen, Mangrobang tested herself in a Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) event during the 2008 Subic Bay ASTC Long Distance Triathlon event and won the bronze. Ahead of her were LC Langit (gold) and Monica Torres (silver).

In May 2009, Mangrobang finished 10th in the Elite Women contest of that year’s SUBIT clocking 2 hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds (2:32:45). In the years that followed, she kept on representing the Philippines in the Elite Women contests of not only SUBIT but also in other triathlon events of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) that were held around the world. No matter how tough the field of competition was, the Santa Rosa triathlete kept focusing and persevering on doing her best and improving herself.

In the 2016 edition of SUBIT (2016 Subic Bay NTT ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup) held at Subic Bay, Mangrobang emerged as the Elite Women champion followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe and Hong Kong’s Kate Rutherford. She timed 2:10:40 and won several ITU qualifying points in return. For the Philippines, it was a rare gold medal victory in the history of SUBIT which has often been dominated by foreign triathletes. The said victory was also proof that Mangrobang’s overseas training (under the guidance of Portugal-based coach Sergio Santos) paid off nicely. To this day, her training in Portugal continues.

SUBIT2K16awarding
Mangrobang (rightmost) with (from L to R) then Triathlon Association of the Philippines Secretary General Tom Carrasco, Chinese Taipei’s Chang Ting Ting and her teammate Kim Kilgroe during the awarding ceremony of the 2016 edition of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). Mangrobang emerged as the event’s Elite Women’s champion. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

Mangrobang also achieved great honor for the nation in non-triathlon events. She emerged as the women’s champion in the Lisbon Meia-Maratona Dos Descombrimentos Half Marathon that was held on December 6, 2015 in Portugal. Her victorious performance saw her timing 1:22:40 outclassing 2nd placer Ceu Nunes (1:26:55) and 3rd placer Sofia Mateiro (1:27:34). That particular sports event was noted to be a programmed race to test the fitness of triathletes. It was also a rarity that Filipinos get to race in the said event, which made Mangrobang’s victory even more outstanding.

Triathlon at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games)

As mentioned earlier, in the history of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), triathlon made its debut in the 2005 edition of the games specifically in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (already well established as the nation’s triathlon hot spot and favorite destination of local triathletes). Back then, Kim Mangrobang was 14-years-old and a junior member of the Philippine team. How she witnessed triathlon’s SEA Games debut was indeed interesting.

“I was still in high school back then. Me and my family left Santa Rosa at dawn to go to Subic Bay to watch the SEA Games triathlon. I had to take a leave of absence from school since that was a school day and I had to go back to school the very next day,” Mangrobang recalled. “When we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of spectators around the venue. The excitement was really high even before the race started.”

Mangrobang recalled that as a spectator, she felt nervous for the nation and what was at stake just as the individual participants were formally introduced during the pre-race ceremony. Like many others, she could only stand and watch the race unfold from behind the barricades (used for crowd control) and experience bouts of anxiety and nervousness. She cheered for her older teammates Sandra Araullo and Ani de Leon. Araullo went on to win the silver medal while De Leon (now a coach) finished 4th.

“I was really nervous back then as a spectator. Then I said to myself, ‘how much more nervous I would be if I was the one racing for the Philippines in the SEA Games,’” she stated. She added that she noticed the added pressure of participating and literally carrying the nation and the local people’s hope that victory would be achieved. She imagined herself in the future being in such a high-stakes situation.

After almost ten years later, Kim Mangrobang made her debut in the SEA Games (2015) in Singapore as a triathlete. Her teammate back then was Claire Adorna.

“Coaches of TRAP selected who were the best to represent our country in the SEA Games with results required,” Mangrobang recalled. “Based on the results of the time, they saw that me and Claire were the best and we were selected for the games. There were no qualifying races back then, which is different compared to today.”

In the 2015 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event, Claire Adorna and Mangrobang worked together with a strategy to help the former gain a lead early in the event. Adorna raced with a foot injury back then and the team’s focus was to help her (and the nation) build up a good lead in both the swim and bike legs of the race, and ensure victory even if her injury would slow her down in the 10-kilometer run leg. The strategy was a success for the Philippines as the injured Adorna won the gold medal and Mangrobang captured the silver medal. Their respective times were 2:13:08 and 2:14:26. The bronze medal went to Thailand’s Arunsiri Sanruthai who was more than seven minutes behind Mangrobang.

2015SEAGamesInquirer
Mangrobang and Claire Adorna on the front page of the June 7, 2015 edition of the Philippine Star. She captured the silver medal while Adorna got the gold medal. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

Two years later, the SEA Games triathlon events were held in Malaysia. In the individual women’s triathlon contest, Mangrobang won the SEA Games gold medal timing 2:11:14 while her teammate Adorna won the silver medal in 2:18:58. Literally speaking, the two ladies switched places and ultimately helped the Philippines which finished the games with 24 gold medals grand total. That was also the start of Mangrobang’s reign as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen.

“During the build-up heading to the SEA Games of 2017, there was anxiety and pressure among us teammates mainly because expectations for us to repeat success were so high as a result of what we achieved in the previous SEA Games,” she stated.

2017SEAGamesMB
Mangrobang and her teammate Nikko Huelgas on the front page of the August 22, 2017 edition of the Manila Bulletin. This marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

To put things in perspective, the Philippines not only repeated its success in the 2015 SEA Games, they exceeded it by having twin gold-and-silver medal victories in both the individual men’s and individual women’s triathlon events in the 2017 edition of the games. On the men’s race, Nikko Huelgas won his 2nd consecutive gold medal while John Chicano added more punch to the victory by grabbing the silver medal. For Mangrobang, that particular event marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal.

“It was a very happy moment for me personally because all the efforts and training invested paid off in the best way possible,” Mangrobang recalled her feeling of winning her first gold medal. “A lot of relief followed as all the pressure and nervousness accumulated just vanished and got replaced with the thrill of victory. Naturally, I became very thankful.”

With regards to the 2019 SEA Games, Mangrobang spent a great deal of her time overseas. As she kept training in Portugal (plus a month of training in Mexico), she represented the country in many sports events that were held in other parts of the world for the first eleven months of 2019. As such, she did not spend much time in the Philippines.

Regardless, she won the gold medal of the individual women’s triathlon once more in the latest SEA Games marking her successful defense of her standing as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen. Her time was 2:02:00. The December 1, 2019 victory at Subic Bay also marked the full turn of life for Mangrobang who went from spectator in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon into Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete fourteen years later at the same freeport.

FB_IMG_1580208785377.jpg
The Sta. Rosa, Laguna-based triathlete making a U-turn during the 40-kilometer bike leg of the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event at Subic Bay. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page)
FB_IMG_1579490581228.jpg
Mangrobang and Chicano on the front page of the December 2, 2019 edition of the Manila Bulletin. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

After winning the two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (individual women and mixed team relay), Mangrobang and her medalist teammates were greeted by lots of local spectators who also expressed their gratitude to them.

“Getting praised and being thanked a lot in return for the victory is normal. It is also a very humbling feeling to see so many spectators rooting for us national athletes to win. Through that experience, I realized there is truth to the 2019 SEA Games tagline of ‘We Win As One,’” she stated.

Mangrobang and her winning teammates (John Chicano, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Remolino, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares) plus members of the coaching staff were nicely rewarded by the national government through Republic Act Number 10699. They formally received their cash incentives in a special ceremony held at Malacanang Palace in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The President jokingly said I resembled a certain past classmate of his from his days as a Grade 5 student,” Mangrobang said recalling her short chat with Duterte as she had her photo session with him at Malacanang. It was her 2nd time to be with the President.

FB_IMG_1578142649605.jpg
Mangrobang with her teammates and fellow 2019 SEA Games medalists (from L to R) Claire Adorna, Kim Kilgroe, John Chicano, Andrew Kim Remolino and Fer Casares. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page) 
FB_IMG_1578142629655.jpg
Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen with President Rodrigo Duterte. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page, photo care of Presidential Communications)

The post-SEA Games buzz did not stop with Duterte. Apart from meeting corporate sponsors and having sessions with some members of the press, Mangrobang was acknowledged by the respective local government units (LGUs) of Santa Rosa in Laguna and Bauan in Batangas through social media.

SantaRosa
Mangrobang right in the middle of the Santa Rosa-based 2019 SEA Games medalists. (photo source – City Government of Santa Rosa, Laguna Facebook page)
Bauan
A congratulatory message from the authorities in Bauan, Batangas. (photo source – Bauan MIO Facebook page)

Bauan claimed Mangrobang as their own since her mother is a native there. After accepting their invitation, she attended the flag raising ceremony at Bauan and was presented by the LGU officials to the locals. They gave her a certificate of recognition. Mangrobang also attended another flag raising ceremony with the Provincial Government of Batangas (headed by Governor DoDo Mandanas) held in Batangas City.

Aiming High for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

As of now, Kim Mangrobang is aiming to get qualified to represent the Philippines in the individual women’s triathlon event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. With the support of San Miguel Corporation, Nike, Specialized, Oakley, Garmin and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the guidance of coach Sergio Santos, she is now in full training in Portugal and eventually she will be joining several triathlon events (recognized by the ITU) that serve as qualifying races for the Olympics.

According to Mangrobang, there will only be 55 slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games individual women’s triathlon event. The qualifying period will end this coming May and subsequently the final lineup of triathletes racing in the Olympics will be announced.

“I’m very focused now on getting into the Olympics and I’m using whatever energy I have for it,” Mangrobang declared.

Message to the Readers

“When I race, I realize that it is a big responsibility because I become an inspiration to other people and I hope that what I achieved will inspire others to engage in the active lifestyle as that is important. I also hope that once they get into triathlon, they will learn to work hard and train smart.”

20200103_162355.jpg
Mangrobang and myself at Akrotiri, Commercenter, Alabang.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Note: My special thanks to Akrotiri restaurant located at Commercenter, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City. Akrotiri really has a nice place (which was great for this feature interview) as well as a fine selection of food and beverages. Those of you who are reading this, I highly recommend Akrotiri.

 

 

2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections postponed!

2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections postponed!

Next Barangay and SK polls to happen on December 5, 2022

Did your local community print media news publication neglect to inform you of the hot news about the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections?

Here are the news: the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections originally scheduled for 2020 has officially been postponed and rescheduled the new date of December 5, 2022!

According to the release of Philippine News Agency (PNA), Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act Number 11462 (titled “Postponement of the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Act”) which effectively postponed the polls originally set for May 2020. The act was signed in ceremony at Malacanang Palace on the afternoon of December 3.

Those who witnessed the signing were  Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Maria Imelda Josefa Marcos, Negros Occidental 4th District Rep. Juliet Ferrer, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

During his keynote speech, Duterte said that the republic act signed is vital in relation to “realizing meaningful and lasting reform for the good of our nation.”

Effects of RA 11462

Apart from postponing the May 2020 polls and setting December 5, 2022 as the new date to hold the elections, incumbent village executives and officials of the youth council will remain in office until their successors have been duly elected or unless they have been removed or suspended.

Given the new date of the Barangay and SK elections, the new set of barangay and SK officials who get elected in December 2022 will take office on January 1, 2023.

Subsequent village and youth council polls will be held on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years after.

Background

During his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, Duterte asked Congress to pass a measure suspending the elections set in May 2020, to give village officials more time to finish their programs and projects.

The Senate and the House of Representatives on November 12 ratified the bicameral conference report of their consolidated measure on the postponement of the twin elections.

This is the third deferment of the village and youth council’s elections since 2016.

Reactions

As soon as the PNA release of this development came out, I reached out to the officials of Barangay BF Homes and their Sangguniang Kabataan for reactions. So far, they have not responded to my inquiries. If ever they respond, I’ll post the reactions right here.

Meanwhile, Senator Imee Marcos posted via her Facebook page on December 4 the following words: Thank you, Mr. President! And we hope this will be the final postponement of Barangay and SK elections, so that in the future, barangay elections will be regular and predictable – one year after the national elections. Barangays are the government’s frontline, and their officials need security and support to deliver government services to the people.

For his part, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar stated that postponing the twin polls would make it easier for the incumbent village executives to implement their projects.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), which is the main body for elections all over the Philippines, saw its spokesperson James Jimenez saying that the postponement will allow them to focus on preparing for the 2022 Presidential Election.

 

 

Parañaque BPLO Receives Concerns About BF Homes Businesses That Built Illegal Structures on Sidewalks

Hi everyone! I’m back here with new updates about BF Homes, specifically about business establishments that built illegal structures on roads and sidewalks within the local community and within the jurisdiction of Parañaque City.

Previously, I wrote about Barangay BF Homes’ move to request the Parañaque City Business Permit and Licensing Office (Parañaque BPLO) to review the business permits of erring business establishments complete with feedback from Barangay Captain Paolo Marquez. That action of Barangay BF Homes was the result of the official letter the barangay received from developer BF Homes, Inc. (BFHI) which complained to them about business establishments inside BF Homes subdivision that made illegal structures on the roads and sidewalks (owned by the developer since they never donated the subdivision to any local government nor to any homeowners’ association).

Around the same time BFHI sent its October 2019 letter to Barangay BF Homes about the issue, the developer also sent another letter of the same nature directly to the BPLO of Parañaque.

20191029_130543.jpg

In the October 1, 2019 letter (received by the BPLO on October 7, 2019), BFHI President Engr. Fernando Javier wrote to Parañaque BPLO head Atty. Melanie Malaya that business establishments inside BF Homes subdivision have proliferated throughout the years without being regulated and monitored for compliance with the Building Code and other property laws. He pointed out that most of those businesses built illegal structures for their private use along the sidewalks (which are meant for public use).

Not only did Javier express the company’s disappointment over the BPLO’s continued renewal of the permits of the erring businesses (with apparent violations committed), he told Malaya that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued the July 29, 2019 Memorandum Circular (Number 2019-121) in which President Rodrigo Duterte expressly directed local chief executives to rid the roads and sidewalks of illegal structures and constructions that were being used for private ends.

Signed by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano, the order stated:

Relatedly, local chief executives are hereby directed to revoke permits that give authority to private entities to occupy public roads, alleys and other thoroughfares. Prudence must also be observed in placing street signs and signages to avoid exacerbating problems on obstructions. Moreover, local sanggunians are enjoined to revisit ordinances and similar legislative measures to ensure responsiveness to this presidential directive and consistency with related laws and policies.

For strategic implementation of this Circular, all provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs), cities and municipalities shall prepare an inventory of all roads within its jurisdiction.

The BFHI executive reminded Malaya that President Duterte’s directive to revoke the permits of erring businesses happened months ago and already the 60-day period to achieve significant results in BF Homes has passed.

“We have not received any report of revocation of business permit,” Javier wrote.

BFHI made clear in its letter that if they don’t see any significant results done by the BPLO, they will report the matter to the DILG.

To find what happened, I visited the BPLO at Parañaque City Hall yesterday. The head of the BPLO, Atty. Malaya, was not present (note: she was at a meeting). However, there were a few officials who were authorized to answer my inquiry as to what the BPLO has been doing with regards to the BFHI’s direct complaint (which is clearly related to Barangay BF Homes’ request for them to review business permits).

A BPLO official told me that the complaint of BFHI has since been endorsed to the Office of the Building Official of Parañaque (Parañaque OBO) and they will follow-up soon with them if any development has been made. The BPLO stated that the OBO is involved since the aspects of construction and following the National Building Code are involved. They also stated that building permits are required for businesses (that have physical presence) to have their respective biz permits issued, implying that the business establishments of BF Homes subdivision had secured building permits (and other requirements) and were deemed qualified to be granted biz permits.

So that’s it as of now. The BPLO of Parañaque literally passed the ball to the OBO for feedback. While this is going on, business establishments that built illegal structures on the sidewalks of BF Homes subdivision continue to operate freely which is depressing. The DILG order is clear and yet, in BF Homes (arguably the most famous residential-commercial community of South Metro Manila), the rule of law is not felt even though there has been news media coverage about city governments clearing the roads and public places of obstruction.

More on the City Government of Parañaque, mayor Edwin Olivarez has been consistent with his repetition of his message that his administration is always business-friendly. My question is this: Does a business-friendly Parañaque mean allowing businesses to violate laws and keep operating?

If anything new happens about this hot issue, I’ll keep you readers posted.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Barangay BF Homes Requests PQUE City Government to Review Permits of Erring Business Establishments

This past October, Barangay BF Homes sent a request to the City Government of Parañaque to review the permits they issued to business establishments operating in their local community that built illegal structures and initiated construction projects along the sidewalks.

Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez confirmed this development to me in relation to an October 1, 2019 letter that they received (on October 3) from developer BF Homes, Inc. (BFHI).

20191029_130543.jpg

In that letter, BFHI Vice President for Production Engr. Fernando Javier told the barangay captain that most business establishments in the local community have built illegal structures along the sidewalks which are intended for public use.

The BFHI executive pointed out that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued on July 29, 2019 a memorandum circular (Number 2019-121) in which President Rodrigo Duterte expressly directed local chief executives to rid the roads and sidewalks of illegal structures and constructions that were being used for private ends.

The memorandum circular, signed by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano, stated:

Relatedly, local chief executives are hereby directed to revoke permits that give authority to private entities to occupy public roads, alleys and other thoroughfares. Prudence must also be observed in placing street signs and signages to avoid exacerbating problems on obstructions. Moreover, local sanggunians are enjoined to revisit ordinances and similar legislative measures to ensure responsiveness to this presidential directive and consistency with related laws and policies.

For strategic implementation of this Circular, all provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs), cities and municipalities shall prepare an inventory of all roads within its jurisdiction.

To put things in perspective, varied city governments around the country implemented road clearing operations on roads and sidewalks.

But going into the Barangay BF Homes community, which by the way is huge, BFHI not only urged captain Paolo Marquez to act (the developer will report the matter to the DILG and the Office of the President if no significant results are realized), but they also wrote twice to the Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay BF Homes council) on November 2018 about clearing obstructions along sidewalks. BFHI reminded Marquez that the Barangay BF Homes Council claimed it will refer their demand (note: in response to the November 2018 letters) to the City Legal Office and, so far, the developer has not received any updates from the barangay.

With regards to Barangay BF Homes responding to the October 1, 2019 letter of BFHI, captain Marquez told me that they will see developments first before issuing a response to the developer. So far the barangay has yet to see an official response from the City Government whom they requested to review all permits that were issued to business establishments (including those that built illegal structures on sidewalks). It also remains to be seen if the City Government under mayor Edwin Olivarez will actually revoke the business permits of businesses found guilty of obstruction in accordance to the DILG’s July 29, 2019 memorandum circular.

Back to captain Marquez, he also mentioned that the barangay itself initiated street clearing operations back in August. To conduct clearing operations on Aguirre Avenue (which is a very long road all of which occupies the jurisdiction of Paranaque City), the barangay will have to engage with a private stakeholder first.

To put things in perspective, BF Homes, Inc. NEVER donated the roads and sidewalks to any local government unit (LGU) or homeowners association (HOA) which explains why they have the right to complain about illegal structures on the sidewalks. The BF Homes community, by the way, also stretches into the cities of Las Piñas and Muntinlupa.

Back to the barangay, there recently was a reform of the Parañaque system of processing business permits in which the barangay no longer processes applications for business clearances (clearly, they no longer issue the said clearances) and that business owners who wish to renew permits can go straight to City Hall, specifically at the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO). Under the old system, business owners had to apply for a biz clearance at the barangay and secure it first (because it was a requirement back then) before proceeding to BPLO of the City.

Future updates on this ongoing development concerning the BF Homes community will be posted here once they happen.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Hundreds Flock to COMELEC Satellite Registration for Barangay BF Homes

Today, hundreds of people went to the Satellite Registration processing organized by the Commission on Elections – Parañaque City office (COMELEC-PQUE) at Robinsons Townville (part of Pergola Mall) service of the residents of Barangay BF Homes who want to register themselves as voters as well as local voters who want to adjust their statuses.

20190921_080322.jpg
As it turned out, most of the people here waited to get in for the Satellite Registration than for shopping. 

To put things in perspective, no less than Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez confirmed to me that, indeed, the whole day process was requested by him and members of the Barangay Council which the COMELEC-PQUE agreed to. It is important to keep in mind that Barangay BF Homes is still the largest barangay in the city in terms of voters and it is easily the hot spot for mayoral and vice-mayoral candidates to campaign in when it comes to local elections. Barangay BF Homes is part of the city’s 2nd district.

In the morning, there already was a line of people before 8AM just outside the Elsie Gatches entry into Robinsons Supermarket BF Homes. Once opened, they entered and went up to the 2nd floor for the registration. The process was done in five steps: verification of valid IDs, recording/releasing of forms, interview for precinct assignment, capturing of biometrics and the thumb marking process (with the release of claim stub).

The way the situation is right now here in the Philippines, the next national and local elections won’t be held until May 2022. When it comes to the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan, the next election is currently set for May 2020 although there is an ongoing effort in Congress to have it postponed to May 2023 (a response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s request during his 2019 State of the Nation Address).

20190921_094929.jpg
Barangay BF Homes SK chairperson Mariel Tumang assisted a youth applicant. The COMELEC accepted youth applicants aged 15 to 17-years-old and thanks to the BFSK, several youth they invited arrived and applied.
20190921_084528.jpg
A COMELEC-PQUE official helped some applicants with regards to filling up forms.

Going back to the Satellite Registration for Barangay BF Homes, COMELEC-PQUE personnel confirmed to me that they will only accept up to five hundred people who apply to get registered formally as voters or, in the case of voters, have their statuses adjusted (including status reactivation for voters who failed to vote in successive elections).

As I noticed today, there were several teenagers who lined up to get registered. This was because the COMELEC-PQUE opened voter registration to youth aged 15 to 17-years-old, plus the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes (BFSK) invited youth from around the community to take advantage of the free service. This was confirmed to me by no less than BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang. I saw Tumang as well as BFSK Kagawads Irene Juanico and Stephanie Sebullen plus other barangay personnel help out.  Free coffee was provided by the office of Parañaque City Councilor Wahoo Sotto.

20190921_093117.jpg
Personnel from the office of Parañaque City Councilor Wahoo Sotto set up a coffee machine which provided free coffee to applicants.

There were a few curious shoppers who passed by and asked me what was going on. After I answered the question, they decided to try to get registered.

For more South Metro Manila and BF Homes developments, come back here soon.