In between my professional chores as spokesman of the Department of Labor and Employment and as a writer, I still manage to find time to plug myself on what is happening in Romblon.
Recently, mining keeps popping up in my radar and I cannot help but comment on the issue, it being so relevant, explosive, and to me, a matter of life and death for Romblomanonslife, luxurious life, for mining proponents like Sam Romero and company and death to poor farmers and fishermen whose survival is anchored on the dignity and integrity of their lands.
And why did Sam Romero suddenly burst into the sceneand as early as the second paragraph of this opinion piece?
Because, first, Sam Romero is a public official and he is fair game for fair comment.
And second, because Sam Romero chose to wage war which I felt he could not sustain: he disparaged freedom of expression as espoused by the Romblon Sun and in the process joined the likes of Cyril Mayor, Nora Divina, and Nikki Taupo whose tirades against Romblon's only credible newspaper stemmed from their mediocrity and envy that the newspaper of Tony Macalisang is flourishing while theirs, the Romblon Kahapon, err, Romblon Ngayon, is floundering.
The Romblon Ngayon, as many Romblomanon readers could attest, is being used merely as wrapping paper for fish dynamited by illegal fishermen in Cyrils hometown. It is a newspaper bereft of news, a mouthpiece of Sam Romero and his ilk, and thus has zero credibility, like Sam Romero, in the journalistic world.
Ang Romblon Sun naman ay puro hula at yan namang si Wilig-wilig Liong-liong ay palaging talo, allegedly said Sam Romero at the presence of the regional director of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the DENR last week. Awe Eranes has reported this to me.
I would not have minded this outburst, but coming from a public official expected by the voters to behave in public with decorum, it riled me.
Sam Romeros remark riled me because it is idiotic. It riled me because it was senseless; and it riled me because the remark dribbled from the mouth of a politician who, like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was a liar.
In 2007, Sam Romero declared with bravado before Jesus Eleandro Madrona and company that if not chosen as Madronas governor, he will not run for public office anymore in the May 2007 election. After his melodramatic speech in which he almost cried of pity for himself, he left; boarded a boat for Romblon; and filed his certificate of candidacy.
Shortly after this, I called up Madrona to inquire if he knew that Sam Romero was running. Oo, Nicon, alam ko na yon, he said matter-of-factly.
There is Sam Romero! Tigilan mo nga ang Romblon Sun, Sam. Asikasuhin mo ang trabaho mo at marami pang matutuwa sa yo. Tigilan mo na rin yang kapapadrino mo sa mga minero at tatantanan ka ng Romblon Sun. The next time you open your mouth, be sure there is fresh air coming from it that will benefit the hearts and minds of Romblomanons.
As it does, Romeros remark betrays his politics: that he is trying to push for mining in the province at the expense of the freedom of expression, one of the most basic and universal of all human rights.
By discrediting Romblon Sun, Sam Romero only mired himself into deeper trouble, further eroding his credibility. I think that many Romblomanonsincluding the writers and editors of this newspaperperceive Romero to be fronting for some mining interests, and thats a pity because as an elected official, he should be fronting for us, the common citizens.
But I perfectly understand that Sam Romero imperfectly understands what I am saying. Thats what many Romblon politicians are incapable of doingreading correctly the signs of the times because they are so blinded by the dark desire to get re-elected even at the expense of the people.
Anyway, I will leave Sam Romero at the moment with the benefit of the doubt. He is entitled to it, not the least because he is an elected official but because I trust the inherent goodness in the hearts of men.
But I would ask him to stop blaming the Romblon Sun for the current anti-mining current in the hearts of many Romblomanons. The Romblon Sun is only a small paper which believes in the power of truth. It is a struggling medium that bears no malice to anyone, including Sam Romero.
In the free market of ideas, the idea that has the ring of truth in it reigns supreme and survives.
Whereas, in the zero sum game of politics which has a life span of three years, just like in Sam Romeros case, remember that the one thing that gets remembered mainly is the way one adds up to, or improve, the voters common weal.
And thats sad, because if history is written now, many will affix an asterisk before Sam Romeros name to indicate a footnote that once in his days on this earth, he had trashed a newspaper that contributes immensely to the progressive thinking of many Romblomanons.
Its a zero sum game, Sam.