INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

Missing snippets of local history

Sabotage is suspected to be the cause of fire that reduced nearly half a million pesos worth of plastic materials to ashes last Sunday before noon at a junkshop in Sto. Domingo, Virac.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Virac, however, has yet to issue an official report on the incident, which received a call from a patrolman at about 10:56am of Aug. 15, 2021 as residents of farawauy barangays were alarmed by the thick cloud of black smoke that rose from the blaze.

Municipal Fire Marshal Insp. Marlon Vargas told the Tribune that the Virac Fire Station’s firetruck arrived at the scene at 11:07pm and, with the help of a firetruck of the Aljon Construction & Development Corp., was able to put out the fire at 1:30pm.

The owner of Tugay Junkshop, Antonio Bonagua, 56, allegedly claimed that the blaze may have been set intentionally as there was no way the stockpile of plastic could have ignited by itself.

By the time, he and his workers arrived at the open area where the materials were stored, the fire had already spread.

Bonagua reportedly lost anywhere from P400,000 to P500,000 in potential income from the razed plastics which had reached somewhere between 10 and 15 tons.

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Appearing on page 5 of this issue is the speech of President Manuel L. Quezon before leaders and citizens of the island on June 8, 1938, an offshoot of the feature story on the Virac house of Don Valentin Aguilar Francisco where he stayed the night.

That story has garnered 26,110 views, second most after the Tribune’s breaking news on the cryptocurrency scam, and indicates the netizens’ keen interest in the island’s history.

Further research by the Tribune shows that while there is available material in terms of photos and literature as far as Cong. Francisco Perfecto is concerned, there is nothing on the net on then Assemblyman Pedro Vera (after whom barangay Summit in Viga is named), then Albay board member Remigio Socito and Lieutenant Governor Gabriel Torrecampo.

According to a long-time Bato resident, Torrecampo founded and ran the defunct Catanduanes Institute before the entire family migrated to Naga City. Other than that, there is no more information on the internet.

Perhaps, the municipal governments can devote some time to updating their websites (if they maintain one) or at least the Wikipedia page, which almost always turns up first when one searched the town on Google.

For example, the San Miguel Wiki page still has Edna Bernal as mayor, when rival Francisco Camano Jr. is now on his second term.

Perhaps, the LGUs can partner with the Center for Catandungan Heritage, Inc. (CCHI), now based at the Catanduanes State University, on a mutually-beneficial project to render verifiable historical accounts of their past and make them available on the web.

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Now that the NBI’s probe of the “Complan” cryptocurrency trading scam has begun in Panganiban and nearby towns, it is time for its victims, numbering over a thousand according to a local official, to come out and join the effort to file charges against alleged operator Darius Panti and Maureen Ambrosio.

Based on an unofficial but confirmed report, the couple has probably closed their bank accounts in at least one Virac bank.

There is no information on whether Panti has accounts in other banks, as he had mentioned in a Facebook post that the payout would be made through GCash, PayMaya or UnionBank.

The NBI investigation should not focus on the northern towns alone as a similar scam or scams have been reported in Virac and nearby towns.

*****

THE FARMER. Bogged down in a huge, mud-filled hole in the road, a motorist paid a passing farmer $5 to pull him out with his tractor.

Once back on dry ground, the grateful motorist said: “If that’s all you charge, I bet you’re pulling people out of the mud day and night.”

“Can’t,” said the farmer. “At night I haul water for the hole.”

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