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‘Toughened Guts and Headless Images’ by Malu E. Gacuma , May 26, 2017 (Friday, 9:06 p.m.)

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One of my daughters complained to me today that she felt ‘traumatized’ after viewing a video posted by a page called “GGWP” showing 2 masked men, behead with a knife,a young man whom they tied and made to kneel at first. It was evil, gruesome, beastly. No ideology on that!

Alarmed by the video’s impact on her, I shared with her a similar experience:

It was 1990, when I was working with DYWB (AM) Bombo Radyo Bacolod as an Anchorwoman/Newscaster. It was sign-off time, and our Police reporter had gone home, when a local police report came in past 11 p.m. that needed our media coverage.

With our patrol-on-duty, I temporarily took over and we rushed to a secluded ‘sitio‘ in Silay City. There, local residents milled around a headless torso lying upward. It was shirtless and draped in blood.

Few meters away, I saw a chubby, dark-skinned man, in his early 20s, sitting on a tree stump. It was the suspect. He looked dazed and stared at nothing.

In his right hand, he held a blood-stained bludgeon. In his left hand, he held the head that belonged to the torso that was his own uncle.

At first, it appeared that the suspect was the aggressor. But further investigation proved that the suspect was the once-a-good- natured- and-quiet-and-hardworking victim who eventually snapped!

Reportedly , his uncle had been taunting their family for years, and allegedly killed his father. As the young man grew up alone, he worked as a meat butcher in a nearby market. His alcoholic uncle was released from prison and began taunting and threatening him every day. That night, the quiet, young man decided to seal his fate and his uncle’s, for good. With a bludgeon he once used at work.

I told my late father then: I can stand looking at a headless torso, but I had to struggle shaking off the image from my young mind then , of a torso-less head, with the victim’s dead eyes open!

Dad listened intently. Then gave me a hug, patted my back and in an assuring tone, told me the same words I passed on to my daughter today:

“At least, now your guts are toughened up! Brace yourself, kid.

This world is not a sweet-coated candy to relish dreamily. It is a tough nut to chew, with its shell still intact. Choose to remember only what makes you stronger.”

Dad was right. It does not take an ideology to keep that in one’s head.

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1991- (As an Anchorwoman / Newscaster of DYWB  Bombo Radyo-Bacolod )  During an investigative journalism mission assigned to me by the President / CEO of Bombo Radyo,Phils.

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1990 , in Apiay, border of Silay and Talisay cities,Negros Occidental – (As an Anchorwoman/ Newscaster of DYWB Bombo Radyo Bacolod) during an investigative mission. Here posing with co-anchor/Newscaster John Elmer Ubaldo (standing) , Police beat reporter Nonie Flores (in white shirt) and our patrol driver. I was pointing actually at sugarcane stalks riddled with Armalite bullets from an ambush incident the night before we arrived.

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‘No News Is Good News, Good News Is No News’ by Malu E.Gacuma, May 23, 2017 (Tuesday, 10:56 p.m.)

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I had delivered the news on-air over the radio, yesterday and today, and the news centered on nothing but corruption and on lives lost due to bomb explosions or due to illegal drugs’ involvement.

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May 22,2017,Monday – Delivering the 6:00-6:30 pm newscast over DYEZ Aksyon Radyo 684 kHz (AM)-Bacolod under Manila Broadcasting Company .

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“No news is good news”. That’s the unspoken universal rule when we don’t hear a word about something we expect. However,in the ‘dog-eats-dog‘ , competitive world of media, the lines seemed to have evolved to “Good news is no news”.

Perhaps this is the reason behind all the sensational,gory-detailed, controversial, heartbreaking, mind-boggling, nerve-racking news we eat for breakfast, chew for lunch and munch for supper. You think so? I do.

“Good news is no news” actually reads: “If it’s good,it’s over.So let the bad news roll in,so people would feast on the news.Once they do, pour in commercials. see your profit spike ,then laugh your way to the bank.”  (You just read the behind-the-scene thoughts of a successful network or publication owner out there,whoever that may be.)

Dominantly,as it was before and still it is now, headline news always grab your attention, keep you glued, break your heart, and let you resume your life with a changed perspective about this world.

Nonetheless, let me keep my hopes high about this world and about humanity, to persistently keep looking at the good side of everything.Call it optimism Call it obstinacy.

No act of terrorism, greed or manipulated perception can ever beat that!

l choose to live in peace, not to  rest in pieces.

That’s a genuinely off-air,off-cam piece of good news!

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(Credits to photo owner)

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‘OUR NATION IS GRIEVING’ by Malu E. Gacuma , May 4, 2017 (12:10 pm ,Thursday)

This country we love so much is now grieving.

By not confirming yesterday the staunch environmentalist,  Ms. Gina Lopez , as DENR Secretary, the public servants comprising the Commission on Appointments give more importance to their personal agenda and the vested interest of mining firms in the guise of technicalities and legalities. They disregarded the more important aspects of the ecological hazards now endangering our lives as we near the tipping point.

Super Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath

Scene of devastation after the unprecedented ‘super storm ‘ Yolanda that hit Tacloban in Leyte. (credits to photo owner)

Our nation that we love so much is now grieving,

For the humiliation of our women , our struggling and defenseless single , female parents who are perceived as just being ‘knocked up’, seemingly just like those female dogs on the streets. That’s the debasing perception of a Senator who speaks in haughtiness as he prides himself with all the power and authority vested upon him by the people he is supposed to serve with humility, integrity and utmost respect.

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(photo: abs-cbn news /online)

We are not watching the slow death of our national values being corrupted not only by external influences thru social media, but by errant leaders who are devoid of good breeding and manners

We are now witnessing the victory of corruption, greed, apathy, selfishness and deceit..

While we stand in silence , or choose to stay at the backseat, or sit on the fence, we leave our next generation- our children– to confusion.,

There they are, watching us muted in a corner. What do we do next? How do we fight for our right to live decently? How do we save our environment from abuses?

Why are we standing in silence? Are we helpless lambs being discreetly dragged to the slaughterhouse, in subservience, with our consent?

Are we trying to repeat our nation’s history of being lorded over by the corrupt and the abusive?

Our ancestors shed their blood to save our country and bestowed us our freedom . They were and are heroes !

How should our children consider us then? Should we just keep our silence and as the dawn breaks tomorrow, forget these all happened today?

Then, this nation we love has a good  reason for grieving!

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(photo by Malu E.Gacuma, 2016)

 

 

SEEING HOPE : A LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT by Malu E. Gacuma, Jan. 21,2017

‘Life begins at 40’, that’s the usual adage spoken with humor when somebody enters the turning-point age that opens the door to ‘midlife crisis’, so to speak. Hence, humor is usually a must-have at this stage. However, it is the same age when the dreaded loss of vision can also start, depending on the person’s lifestyle. The usual culprit is eye cataract.

Eye cataract is  reportedly the most common cause of principal blindness in the world and  a major cause of vision loss for those aged more than 40 years old. A Department of Health report showed that  about 362,000 Filipinos lost vision due to cataract.

Unlike the irreversible glaucoma , eye cataract can still be treated thru surgery.

LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had  recently confirmed an increasing number of successful eye cataract surgeries being extended  by the Our Lady of Mercy Specialty Hospital in Eroreco, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental to  its indigent patients, specifically less-privileged senior citizens.

In an interview, Dr. Jeremias Manuel K. Moscardon, Jr., OLMSH Medical Director, attributed the success to the Lumera surgical microscope and Php 5.8 million worth of surgical supplies donated last year  by the LDS Charities  and the Mason Eye Institute  to the said hospital.

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The  donated Lumera  surgical microscope

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Me with Dr. J.M. Moscardon, Medical Director.

He said, ‘the donation is a big help  to  more poor patients now that our hospital is about to open a branch in Kabankalan this April, considering our hospital has a large number of  such patients. We are honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the donated multi-million-peso worth of surgical equipment and supplies.“

Meanwhile, on January 19, a group of Latter-day Saints  met with the hospital representatives to follow-up  the results of the said donation.

The group, led by Manila-based Country Director  for Welfare Projects Carlos Revillo and  Welfare Project Manager George Kenneth Lee, also included  Remus Villarete  (Stake High Council) and Bacolod Multi-Stake Public Affairs Council members Francis Muñoz, Jeffrey Plaza, Bong Ferrer ,Vanessa Nang and Malu Gacuma while the meeting was facilitated by Multi-Stake Public Affairs Director Belle Georfo and Myles Muñoz.

Later that afternoon, some of the group had witnessed  an actual eye cataract surgery under the supervision of known eye surgeon, Dr. Miguel Sarabia, who heads Negros Eye Specialists.

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During the operation, we had witnessed how the medical team combined the use of the donated technology with their eye cataract surgery technique inspired by, according to Sarabia, “the Aravind  eye hospitals in India.”

It introduced  a new approach to the surgical procedure by “scooping out  the diseased lens instead of using incision,  thus making the Lumera  surgical microscope  play a more vital role in the  meticulous  process,” he added.

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The patient’s right eye, up close

The patient named Leonora, in her late 40s, had a case of a “stubborn  kind of cataract”, as Sarabia described  both the hard lens and the soft, fluid-type  under it  that had to be taken out. The surgery  may have lasted for less than 30 minutes, but the life-changing impact on the patient would be for a lifetime.

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Me (by the door)  with brother Revillo and sister Ferrer

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Dr. Sarabia taking a peek through the microscope

Sarabia said that  with the  upgraded equipment, more indigent patients and less-privileged senior citizens even from far-flung areas can now avail of ‘first-class medical service’ despite their financial incapacity.

At this juncture,  Lee clarified that, based on Church principle, the donation was done ‘without expecting anything in return, not even in exchange for  free consultation for  any LDS members. All the patient has to do is to bring  his or her Philhealth card and then  undergo a screening to qualify for the operation.‘   Lee added that ‘this is consistent  with the self-reliance doctrine  of our Church.’

Lee’s statement resounded the late President Gordon B.Hinckley who cited  the “tremendous statement given by the First Presidency in 1907. They said: ‘Our motives are not selfish; our purposes not petty and earthbound; we contemplate the human race—past, present, and yet to come—as immortal beings, for whose salvation it is our mission to labor; and to this work, broad as eternity and deep as the love of God, we devote ourselves, now and forever.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1907, appendix, “An Address to the World,” p. 16.)

Before we left the hospital , I asked Leonora how she felt. She smiled and said she was very much relieved and excited to fully recuperate, thus having her vision back after 8 long years.

Now she is seeing hope. A stubborn  kind of hope.

–@–

By: Malu  E.Gacuma ( Bacolod  1st Ward)

Social Media Specialist,Bacolod Multi-Stake Public Affairs Council

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

5pm, Friday,January 21,2017

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Group lunch at Masskara Chicken Inasal, Bacolod City.  ( Counter clockwise : Me, George Kenneth Lee, Dr. Miguel Sarabia, Carlos Revillo , Anne Catolico ( Sarabia’s secretary), Vanessa Nang, Bong Ferrer, Remus Villarete and 2 eye doctors invited by Sarabia.)