Remembering Don Sergio Osmeña Sr.
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 9, 2019 - 12:00am

For our special presentation on our talk show “Straight from the Sky” we again proudly bring you Cebu’s Philippine Accessible Disability Services, Inc. (PADS) dragon boat racing team, which won four gold medals during the 14th International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Nations Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. The four gold medals were contributed by the PADS who manned the Philippine Paradragon Elite Team via the first-ever Paradragon category of the IDBF World Nations Championships that began on August 20 and ended August 25, 2019. They are world champions!

PADS team manager JP Maunes and team captain Arnold Balais told me their victory came from the PD1 and PD2 divisions of the 200-meter and 500-meter small boat categories. On behalf of all PADS members, the said, “We are totally overwhelmed right now to be part of history here at the IDBF world championships. It’s a mission accomplished for the team. It is truly an honor for us to serve our country and bring pride and honor to the Filipino people. May our victory give hope and inspiration to every Filipino despite the adversaries they are facing.”

Mind you, this is actually the third time for me to interview PADS. The first was in 2017 when they won their first gold medal inthe dragon boat race in Hong Kong, then the second was when they won their second gold medal, also in Hong Kong. While we cannot have the entire team in the studio, at least we have a dozen of them on this show, led by their manager Maunes. So watch them on SkyCable’s channel 53 at 8 p.m. with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9 p.m. Monday and at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

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Today is the 143rd birth anniversary of the only Cebuano president we ever had. Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. was born Sept. 9, 1876. I have the two-volume biography of Don Sergio Osmeña, Sr. as written by Vicente Albano Pacis, who once said Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. was the greatest Filipino who ever lived after Dr. Jose Rizal. One man who always gave tribute to Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. was the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan who, when he was head of the Cebu Newspaper Workers Foundation, held the Osmeña Memorial Lecture for ten years.

The Osmeña Memorial Lectures each year had an important personality to speak of Don Sergio. Just to name a few, we had Sen. Sotero “Teroy” Laurel, Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan himself, and my mentor Max Soliven. Our last speaker was Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who extolled Don Sergio as having “humility while in power,” something that Don Sergio’s grandchildren in politics never had.

While Don Sergio is known in Cebu as “The Grand Old Man,” he was known more when he was aged 29 when he became the speaker of the National Assembly, which was the legislative branch of the Philippine Commonwealth. I met Don Sergio only twice when he came to our home in Mango Avenue during the wake of my grandfather, Don Jose Avila, where my father, Atty. Jesus Avila, introduced me to him. Later I would meet him in his house when Gen. Douglas MacArthur visited his house in Jones Avenue. Cebu needs another Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. again.

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My good friend, Bing Martinez wrote me an article on community service. “When small children misbehave, they are sent to face the wall at the corner for a “timeout,” to think about what and why they are being punished. As adults, parents are replaced by the court system that relies on the legislative branch to mete out appropriate punishment. However, in many cases, the prescribed money penalties are too small to make the erring person to stop and think about why they are being punished.

“One of the most effective ways of achieving this is community service rather than money penalties. For example, instead of a P50 fine for jaywalking, littering or vandalism, a mandatory scheduled community service of four hours will make that person remember not to jaywalk, litter, or deface someone else’s property. Community service hours can be scheduled by the police department, so that these erring citizens can be assembled on a pre-set day and given, say, supervised street cleaning, street painting, or landscape beautification duties on a weekend. But the offender clearly needs time to ponder their mistakes and make amends to society.”

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