Reactions to ‘discovery’ column

By Herbert Vego


WE have received interesting reactions on Facebook to our column on “Church-State discord” (March 17 issue) that began with the “discovery” of the Philippines by Magellan.

We are summarizing some of them. Here’s one from our friend Freddie Panes, who now lives in Philadelphia:

“Why do we keep saying ‘discovered’? The Chinese, the Malays, and Indonesian traders had come long before Magellan set foot and claimed the islands for his King because he knew it would engrave his name in history. We were conquered, acquired as property in the name of their religion symbolized by the cross!

“Lapu-Lapu killed Magellan because he could not accept a stranger telling him to report his harvest and be taxed. He remains a symbol of Filipino pride.”

From Winfred Elizalde:

“I am aghast to know that the church-state rivalry had its origin way back in the days of Magellan and Lapulapu. The savage murder of Governor-General Fernando Manuel de Bustamante by an angry mob is well known, as it was even captured in canvass by Hidalgo. I saw the painting in the National Museum.

“To consider the baptism of Raja Kulambo and his wife as the beginning of Christianity in the islands is a sham, as it was rejected outright when the remnants of Magellan’s army was routed out in Cebu by Rajah Kulambo.”

Retired educator Aurora Alerta Lim wrote, “It was the Chinese fleet led by Zheng Hu who ‘discovered’ the Philippines and America in 1421 — 100 years before Magellan and Christopher Columbus came, respectively. But China came to trade, not to colonize the islands.”



SENATOR Imee Marcos, though beholden to the party in power, is showing signs of being a maverick who would openly criticize mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis.

In a chat with the Manila-based media men, she denounced the  Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force (NTF) for preventing entire industries from procuring Covid-19 vaccines.

She had taken possession of a draft administrative order — about to be passed to President Duterte for his signature — that would prevent the country’s largest manufacturers of tobacco, milk, sugar, soda, and alcohol, as well as multinational firms based in the Philippines, from assisting the government’s national vaccination program.

“That means the entire San Miguel group, the whole Lucio Tan group, Puregold, Nestle, Destileria Limtuaco, all soft drinks producers, Tanduay, Ginebra, White Castle, et cetera,” Marcos pointed out.

She lamented that prohibition inasmuch as the government lacks funding.

“These companies are the biggest contributors to the government coffers through excise taxes. How ironic that this administrative order was conceived amid a shocking spike in Covid-19 cases and just weeks away from the tax payment deadline in April,” she said.

NTF chief Carlito Galvez Jr. allegedly disapproved the vaccine importation request for 500,000 of Sinovac by the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FCCCII). Bakit kaya?

Oh well, that reminds us of his “non-disclosure agreement” with China’s communist government for 148 million vaccine doses. Being so, Galvez would not confirm the a published story that we taxpayers are paying P3,600 for each two-dose inoculation.

How much of that amount kaya ang tongpats?



HOUSE Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda (lone district, Antique) considers the ongoing celebration of the 2021 Quincentennial of the Philippines as one of the indicators in the achievement of humankind in circumnavigating the world.

“The quincentennial is a commemoration not only of the country’s part in the first circumnavigation of the world,” she messaged, “but also a celebration of our ancestors’ humanity, identity, and history. The series of milestone events in the Quincentennial will highlight the hospitality, established civilization, and rich culture and tradition of Filipinos way before the arrival of our colonizers.”

Among the milestone events that are being commemorated during the  Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (2021 QCP) are the 500th anniversary of the Victory of Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan, the first mass in the Philippines, the circumnavigation of the globe by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano from 1519-1522, respectively.

During her stint as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, Legarda provided funds for the Quincentennial and its activities, including workshops and lectures, art competitions that promote victory and humanity and the establishment of markers, among many others.

The Quincentennial looks back to the year 1521 or 500 years ago when Magellan landed in the Philippines.



THIS could be bad news to the defunct Panay Electric Co. (PECO), but the March 9, 2021 decision of the Supreme Court denying its motion for reconsideration gives it an opportunity to benefit from the extradition of its properties by the new distribution utility in Iloilo City, MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), in line with the franchise law RA 11212.

Section 10 of RA 11212 tackles the “right of eminent domain” or the power of the government to expropriate a utility or to delegate that power to a private group, to wit:

“The grantee may acquire such private property  as is actually necessary for the realization of the purposes for which this franchise is granted, including but not limited to poles, wires, cables, transformers… Provided, that proper expropriation proceedings shall have been instituted and just compensation paid.”

The law requires MORE Power to pay PECO P481,842,450 payable to PECO. Should it accept the amount, it’s there for the taking; the money remains in escrow at the Landbank. It is presumed to be the net worth of PECO in accordance with its tax declaration.

The validity of the amount,  however, remains to be decided in court.

Sirs Castro and Cacho “die-die” praying for a win-win decision.