Remembering Pres. Ramon Magsaysay

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - March 17, 2015 - 12:00am

My heartfelt condolences to the family of Philippine Long Distance and Telephone company President and CEO of Smart Communications, Napoleon “Polly” Nazareno on the passing to eternal life of his mother, Mrs. Linda Logarta Nazareno. Her interment is today at the Cebu Memorial Park after the 9:00AM mass in St. Therese Parish. May we request the pious reader to please pray for the repose of her soul.

* * *

It is exactly 58-years ago, when the most loved President of the Philippines, the late Pres. Ramon Magsaysay was killed when his presidential plane, known as “Mt. Pinatubo”, a converted Douglas C-47 (the civilian version was the DC-3) crashed around 1:40AM in the slopes of Mt. Manunggal in Balamban in Central Cebu. With him where high-ranking government officials and the sole survivor was Nestor Mata a young reporter from the Philippine Herald who is still alive and still writing columns.

When my father, the late Atty. Jesus “Lindong” Avila learned that the crash site have been found and that the remains of the President would be brought down by helicopter to the old Lahug Airport, he gathered my siblings and drove us to the Lahug Airport where we saw that there was a large crowd of people waiting for the arrival of Magsaysay’s remains.

Then a Sikorsky H-19 “Chickasaw” appeared and landed in exact area close to the left-hand side of the entrance arch of the AsiaTown IT Park today and then the body was put on a hearse and put in a coffin and placed in the Chapel in Camp Lapu-Lapu for short time while waiting for a plane to transport the bodies to Manila for burial.

I got to know more about Pres. Magsaysay from my conversations with the late Sir Max Soliven, who told me that the success of Pres. Magsaysay against the Communist insurgency (they were called the Hukbalahap in those days) was due to his nearly forgotten slogan on how to combat the scourge of Communism called the four “F’s”. Pres. Magsaysay said, “Find ‘em, fool ‘em, fight ‘em and finish ‘em then offer them the hand of peace.”

Pres. Magsaysay’s slogan was very logical because when you negotiate with your enemies, internal or foreign, you must do it in a position of strength and not in a position of weakness. This is why Pres. Magsaysay was considered the “Best Loved” President of the Philippines because he truly believed that Presidents are the servants of the Filipino people and it was not a mere rhetoric. Unlike Pres. Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III, who often boast in his speeches that the Filipino people is his “boss” yet, he does not even care what the Filipino people thinks about the problems plaguing our nation.

But those were different times. Today the Office of the President has become so far away from the hearts and minds of the Filipino people. The President is so sanitized by his cordon sanitaire, to the point that the President no longer knows the pulse or the true sentiments of the Filipino people. These are times that we miss Pres. Magsaysay because he truly cared for the needs of the Filipino people.

* * *

Another huge accident has happened at the South Road Properties. All this is happening despite the efforts of Mayor Michael Rama to impose a speed limit on this road. The problem really lies upon the driver of the vehicles that use the SRP. If I read that Freeman report correctly, the Cement truck driver Danilo Cojo saw the Hyundai car driven by Rustico Bas as zigzagging along the road until it crossed into his lane and smashed the car into his truck. Now the truck driver has been detained for possible charges of reckless imprudence. But is this really fair?

The circumstance showed that Rustico Bas came from a party that he was hosting and chances are he could have been driving while being intoxicated. Now five people are dead, including the driver. But our traffic laws only detain the surviving driver, who after all maybe an innocent victim of circumstance. After all it was the Hyundai car that hit his truck on his lane!

The truck driver was transporting cement and therefore working. If the truck could not stop quickly, it was due to his huge load of cement bags. So the question we should ask is whether an autopsy was conducted on the dead people inside the car. If not, then I think someone should authorize an autopsy so it can show whether the partygoers were drunk or not.

Call it timely that starting March 12, the Land Transportation Office will be using breath analyzer tests on motorists suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol in a bid to address drunk driving in the country. Unfortunately there are only 150 units of breath analyzers available and I do not think that this is enough even for Metro Manila alone. I am not scared if CITOM would implement the drunken driving laws here. After all, I have quit drinking since the year 2000. So let us bring those analyzers here!


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