Some key changes in the New Year

by Fernan A. Gianan

There is a new boss at the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Catanduanes, following the departure last year of then PENRO Marlon Francia whose job was taken over temporarily by officer-charge Ferdinand Baltazar.

The other week (Jan. 20, 2020), Engr. Jerry R. Arena took over as officer-in-charge of PENRO Catanduanes in a brief turnover ceremony witnessed by Atty. Ronnel C. Sopsop, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services of DENR Regional Office V.

According to reliable sources, the new OIC has hit the ground running, to borrow the phrase that characterized the first year of then-President Fidel Ramos. He has reportedly resolved satisfactorily the issue regarding the proposed widening of the national highway section that passes through the Luyang Cave Park. More on this next week…


Another key post in the province that would be vacated in a few months will be the presidency of the Catanduanes State University (CSU), whose current occupant, Dr. Minerva I. Morales, is reportedly leaving on or before March 2020 for personal reasons.

Already, some fireworks have already been set by this development, particularly involving a few university officials who have cast moist eyes on the prestigious and powerful post for sometime now.

With the university having the largest funding among Bicol state universities and colleges this year, people should not wonder why several officials, who are qualified for the post on the basis of their academic background, are now jockeying for position and seeking the support of certain political leaders.

But Pres. Morales certainly will leave with her reputation intact as far as the implementation of infrastructure projects is concerned.

What some insiders and contractors fear is the possibility that someone not in Morales’ mold could ascend to the CSU throne.


Forty-nine members of the Missionary Families of Christ from the island, headed by chapter servant Atty. Greg Sarmiento Jr., journeyed to Baguio City last weekend for the World Couples Congress at the Camp John Hay Convention Center.

The annual weekend retreat provided the participants a chance to renew their commitment to serve God in their mission to evangelize more people to join the MFC either as couples, handmaids, servants, singles or kids.

On their way back, however, the travelers were mired for long periods of time in three separate stretches of the Baguio-Manila trip as weekend tourists all decided to return home in the afternoon. The result was a traffic pile-up: the first as thousands of cars and buses tried to get out of the mountain city; a second at Rosario, La Union where the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) segment from Sison, Pangasinan to Rosario was closed beginning Jan. 16 to enable its completion by February; and the third at the exit booths at the North Luzon Expressway in Bulacan.

What took just less than five hours to negotiate on their way up turned into a nearly nine-hour ordeal for thousands of travellers.


GOOD JOB, ENSIGN! A young ensign had nearly completed his first overseas tour of sea duty when he was given an opportunity to display his ability at getting the ship under way. With a stream of crisp commands, he had the decks buzzing with men and soon, the ship had left port and was streaming out of the channel.

The ensign’s efficiency has been remarkable. In fact, the deck was abuzz with talk that he had set a new record for getting a destroyer under way. The ensign glowed at his accomplishment and was not all surprised when another seaman approached him with a message from the captain.

He was, however, a bit surprised to find that it was a radio message, and he was even more surprised when he read, “/My personal congratulations upon completing your underway preparation exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. In your haste, however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules — make sure the captain is aboard before getting under way./”

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