Tuesday, April 28, 2009

THE LUGAS AND THE IBANAGS IN U.S.


Ate Mila Opseth of TUMAUINI.COM went home last April to visit her Mother in Isabela. She is now back in United States where she has been residing with her family. She should have visited Fr. Angel Luga, who was the Parish Priest at Tumauini during her younger years, but did not make it due to her hectic schedule as Fr. Angel is now based in Cauayan. She should have also hired the services of Carlo Luga Borja of the GALI-KOREN for some of her kababayan migrating to U.S. if we have been in touched with each other earlier.

TUMAUINI.COM is the online venue for residents worldwide who once called Tumauini home. They hold regular gatherings in California where the GALI-KOREN LAW OFFICE is also based. If you would like to participate in this association as it is open to all that have connections with Tumauini, please contact Mila Samonte Opseth at msopseth@yahoo.com or [661] 373-5164. You can also contact Ranee Quiambao at ranee_realestate@yahoo.com or [818] 383-9450. A user name and password to access the confidential area of the association’s website will then be provided. Do visit their site (double click here) and see how the Ibanags preserved their culture and tradition as a people eventhough living abroad.

Trisha Luga, who is based in the United Arab Emirates, however, has this to say: "Naku kuya naman hiya tuloy ako..(blushed!!). Buti na lang po hindi ako nagpalit ng family name. Meron sana akong pinagsisisihan sa ngayon. x x x Kala ko nga noon konti lang ang Luga, akala ko po rin noon si Father Angel lang ang kilalang Luga . . . maling akala."

To Trisha, welcome!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HISTORY MAKES US . . .

We just received an email from Mr. Sid Lactao informing us that his book entitled "75 Unknown Facts" About Isabela now climbed to 88.

The fact that the oldest archaeological remains of the Philippines were found in Cagayan Valley by itself proves that Cagayan Valley already have its own civilization and to a certain extent, an organized polity comprising of different tribes even before the coming of the Spaniards. It can be recalled that Nueva Ecija up to Tuguegarao, actually comprises the Cagayan Valley where the Ibanag Tribe, which name was derived from Cagayan River's ancient name, "Bannag" lives within the banks of the great river. While the Gaddang tribe lived in the upper riches of the Cagayan River and its tributaries going upward in the Cordilleras ruled by the Igorots. The Ibanags, Gaddangs and other tribes in Cagayan Valley are friends of the Igorots. In Fr. Salgado's book Cagayn Valley and the Eastern Cordillera 1581-1898, the different tribes in Cagayan Valley used to hide in the mountains with the Igorots whenever they, upon the rising of a leader, rebel against the Spaniards.

Talking about Cordillera, lately in the April 7, 2009 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, our friend and fellow peace advocate hit the front page (lower section of PDI):"Papuans Eye Mankayan Fish Terraces". The Minister of Fisheries in Papua New Guinea was so impressed with the Fish Terraces in the Cordillera that they intend to replicate the same in their country. Much of the development in the Fishery Sector was brought about by the peace effort of both the CPLA, BFAR Director Rebecca Dang-Awan, whose son is a PMA Graduate and Gov. Teddy Baguilat Jr., whose father is the former ARD of the Department of Agriculture, Teddy Sr. and a an in-law of Gen. Brawner. It can be recalled that Gen. Victor Luga, whose roots is from Isabela, is also a Cordilleran by marriage.

In one of our project almost three (3) years ago, we referred Mercy Bahatan, a high ranking CPLA official to Dir. Dang-Awan in support of the peace effort in the Cordillera. The internet, indeed has played its role in bonding old ties with people of divergent belief acting in unison towards attaining our illusive quest for a better country.

Dir. Dang-Awan wrote us a note, it reads: "Sorry, we can't access to your email - anyway we were able to read your cousin's info. We want to know the exact location where do we put the project and who are the beneficiaries. Remember Ifugao is big." That was three (3) years ago.

Today, the bond of the past have in some way contributed to the success of BFAR's project that impressed the Papuans, some part of its history not known to others maybe attributed to the peace effort and the understanding among these people who makes a difference trying to re-invent and mold the course of history - people like Edsel Arrieta (+), Sid Lactao, Rebecca Dang-Awan, Mercy Bahatan (including those who supported their efforts) and those who believe that we can make a difference in our own humble way -

MAKE A DIFFERENCE - This one is for all of you:



Sunday, April 19, 2009

BE INSPIRED

Let's go on with our lives LEAD! This is a very inspirational film by LASSERSPEED007

SID LACTAO & GEN. MATEO NORIEL LUGA

We were surfing in the net and was amazed how emerging techies uses the cyber tech as a mode to convey their advocacies especially in the political scene, which drives us to do a project and develop a site "THE POLL WATCH: Philippine Politics in Cyber Space", where we linked the sites of the different candidates and political parties. We are not into politics, the cyber space, however, gives us a place where we can look, observe and discern these candidates, their platform and vision, especially for our relatives from abroad to be in touched with the developments in our country. Imagine meeting Trisha in You Tube, she is in the Middle East - Eh . . . Lolo niya pala si Fr. Angel! We hope she'll meet Luel Luga De Jesus in Mid-East.

Sid Lactao Jr., an A.B. English Graduate of La Salette University, Santiago Isabela, former radio announcer and Editor of City Star Santiago City was writing a book entitled:"ISABELA: 75 Unknown Facts", where he featured Great Isabelenos and Gen. Mateo Noriel Luga was one among them. We emailed each other for a time exchanging notes about the history of Gen. Mateo Noriel Luga. If there is one, who we can consider as the greatest among the great Isabelenos, its none other than the late General Mateo Noriel Luga. Imagine an Ibanag tribal warrior sending a fleet of Navy running away from battle in the Island of Cebu after he rescued his wife and family who were held hostage to capture him .

There were some pictures kept by Fr. Angel Luga of the late Gen. Mateo Noriel Luga wearing tribal clothing, which only means that "Gen. Luga" or his family occupies a respectable position among the Ibanags, one of the dominant tribe in Cagayan Valley, among others - the Itawis, Irrayas, Ilonggots and Negritos. We go over the accounts written by friar missionaries in the book of Fr. Pedro V. Salgado (which Fr. Angel Luga gave us during our mission in Isabela last year 2008) entitled : "Cagayan Valley and Eastern Cordillera : 1581 -1898", names of tribal leaders were mentioned, but not of an Ibanag tribal leader. What amuses us are the following facts: the Spanish Missionaries used "Ibanag" as the official language in the entire Cagayan Valley - this only means that "Ibanag dialect or the "Ibanags" are the more dominant tribe. Second: most of tribal leaders accounted are only those killed or neutralized by the Spaniards - during those days the colonizers (of course) does not mention or writes about rebel leaders who they have not captured or neutralized, as this would only mean that they are weak. There were many tribal leaders that rebelled against the Spaniards from the different tribe, but none was mentioned about an Ibanag Tribal leader. Imagine how cunning General Mateo Noriel Luga was - he was not captured or killed by the Spaniards, but in fact, the one who led the rebellion from Cagayan to Manila.

His name have not also been mentioned in the the accounts of the Generals under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, may be because he was a tribal leader. His sending to Cebu raised suspicion that it was actually part of the scheme for the Cavitenos to gain control over the Katipunan because of the rift between the group of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio. In fact, there were accounts mentioned by Eng. Elmer Surriga that he heard from his Grandmother that his Great Grandfather, the late Gen. Mateo Noriel Luga, was against the killing of Andres Bonifacio. Nevertheless, Gen. Mateo Noriel Luga, as a good soldier, continued to fulfill his duty by sending the Americans running away from battle in Cebu during the Fil-Am War. What would have happened if Gen. Mateo Noriel Luga was in Isabela at the time when Gen. Aguinaldo retreated to Isabela? It might have changed the course of history with Luga fighting in his own terrain with his own people - maybe it might have changed the history.

History is what makes us - as a people and a nation. It is history that bonds us - a history of continued struggle . At times we wonder why we are what we are . . . now we fully understand because of history.

In his prologue Fr. Pedro V. Salgado stated:

"Like other Filipinos of good will, the author is worried about the poverty of the Filipino people today, and desires to help bring the people to a life of prosperity and happiness.

"An effective means to achieve this is history. For isn't it said that experience, and therefore history, is the best teacher?


"So important is history that foreign oppressors have always tried to distort history for their imperialistic objectives."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"PATA SHALL NOT FALL AGAIN"

Many of us cannot fully understand the deep sense of patriotism of those who voluntarily experienced facing death in fulfillment of their pledge to defend a nation. Many of us cannot understand why patriots rise when what they have fought for was betrayed. Many of us cannot fully understand how it feels to be in the cold and in the brink of danger for a cause that seldom a few knows - how to appreciate facing death. Maybe because many tend to remain deaf and dumb as there were only a few who have undergone such experience, survived and dared to continue the struggle.

Ramon J. Farolan in his column in PDI once said that, historical articles will tell us that there exists a special place in every country’s epoch that changes the course of its history. A place where boys turns into men . A place where patriots once stood to their ground bravely facing death willingly embracing the supreme sacrifice to defend a piece of land where the survival or a downfall of a nation depends. The Fort of Masada in Israel is one of such place. It is considered sacred by its military, Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Moshe Dayan, initiated the practice of holding the swearing-in ceremony of soldiers who have completed their Tironut (IDF basic training) on top of Masada. The ceremony ends with the declaration: "Masada shall not fall again."

In Philippine History,Tirad Pass can be compared to Masada, where the young and patriotic Filipino General by the name of Gregorio Del Pilar, the rear guard of Aguinaldo's retreating forces stood his ground with a handful of men in his command. They bravely face death to defend the Pass, to protect the retreating short lived Philippine Republic. "Americans fell upon the flank and rear of the outnumbered defenders, killing or wounding some 52 of the 60 Filipinos. Among the dead was General del Pilar, shot through the neck at the height or end of the struggle (depending upon which eye-witness account is to be believed). The Americans lost 30 dead and 9 wounded, most of which resulted from the repelled frontal assault. Despite nearly total annihilation, however, the Filipinos held off the Americans long enough for Aguinaldo to escape".

In modern day history, we have this to say - the symbol of this patriotic deed was somewhere in Mindanao when the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the guise of a peace agreement almost wiped out a Battalion in Pata Island, one of the biggest island in Jolo. The MNLF aided by foreign armaments tried to establish a separate state of MINSUPALA, the military then has to retake the island to re-assert Philippine sovereignty.

In his writings, "Troubled Decades in the Eye of the Storm", MGen. Delfin Castro have this to say:

"When the water was ebbing, the small corral island became bigger and bigger and the gap closer to the beachhead. At 1500H, we heard COL CANIESO shouting through his megaphone, "31st this is the right time!" The tide had turned to its minimum height but we could still see water infront of us. After ten rounds of 60mm mortar bombardment of the proposed entry site by our mortar squad together along with us at the corrals, Alfa Company on the left and Hotel Company at the right facing the beachhead prepared for attack. Bravo Company would be staying behind as Reserve. Somebody at the back shouted our battlecry, "CHARGE!" but everybody reacted with hesitations. We all knew death was upon us! It would be suicide! As I looked behind, all eyes were on me. Thinking, we had to hurry up! I do not know until now what came into me but my prayers at that moment were total submission to God. I kept on praying the Act of Contrition over and over again as we ran in intermittent zigzag towards the beachhead. Pfc Mariano Reyes, who was near me, was very protective. He kept on pulling me down every time he heard bullets whizzing. I scolded him to stop doing so because I was starting to lose my nerve. Whenever I happened to look back, I could see my men falling down to the ground. I pleaded very deeply from Him to protect them. I did not know that my men were just dodging bullets and would stand up later to follow me. What if nobody followed me? I have written in my graduation book annual, "To conquer death you only have to die!" I told my men earlier, "Kung mamamatay rin tayo bakit natin ipapakita na tayo ay taray-taray", no pun intended 33IB. We really never showed that we were cowering in fear. I am very proud of my men in Alfa Company. Let the crew in the temper boats and retired LTGEN CANIESO, who are eyewitnesses to all of these, come out and attest to our defining moment! x x x"

On Valentine's Day of that year, 32nd IB came and replaced us at 1330H from our position. Many troops came pouring in. LTGEN FORTUNATO ABAT '51, who was the CGPA at that time, visited the massacre site. He talked to us. I remember GEN LUGA telling us the reason why he was pulling us out of Pata Island. He told us that he did not want anymore our battalion to incur more casualties. We had enough. We were already becoming careless and aggressive. Lastly, we were being blinded by our desire to get instant revenge. Away from the group of generals, COL CANIESO told me by saying but I know he was referring to the troops, "We need you alive not dead!"

Still in the island and later back to the mainland, seeing familiar faces was very soothing for me. I saw the Jolo Boys in the rescue: LIEUTENANTS LIM USMA'78, PURUGGANAN '78, ABELIA '79, ARADANAS '79, BAMBAO '79, CALALANG '79 (+), DELA CRUZ '79, DELLOSA '79, PANGILINAN '79, PALMEA '79, PERALTA '79, VALENTIN '79, BOLO '80, FRANCISCO '80, MENDOZA '80, NOBLE '80, PASAMBA '80, SUGON '80, and YANO '80. Then, an Acting Battalion Commander by the name of COL ABRAHAM MAGHARI, with a new set of staff, arrived and took over 31st IB.

Back at my company CP at Indanan, LT GONGORA and I wrote LTC OLAY, who was in Australia, an extensive letter narrating to him the massacre. We told him how we wished he was there. Perhaps, different things might have happened. I learned later that the Pata Island Massacre occurred on the exact date of GENERAL OLAY's 37th birthday! The news became the worst birthday present he had in his lifetime.

The Pata Island Massacre will go down in the AFP history as its worst debacle. This is the encounter that has the highest number of casualty, specifically on KIAs".

The men of the 31 and the 32 IB, however, never let Pata fall. If there is a place solemn such as Masada in Israel or Tirad Pass during the Fil-am War, it is no other than Pata Island in modern day history. Maybe, now we can appreaciate why patriots stood their ground when others failed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

COL. ALLAN LUGA & THE BOHOL PROVINCE


It was more than 40 years ago when this man joined Bohol's political arena - first as a Provincial Board Member, then a Mayor. . . . the rest is history. It was almost two decades ago when we first met this person - full of vision not only for his beloved Municipality of Ubay, but to his province per se, the Province of Bohol. Unlike today, it took us roughly 8 hours boat ride then to reach Ubay from the port of Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu where we have to take a ferry and spent a night at sea to reach Ubay at the break of dawn. The project we have to assess then was a Small Water Impounding Project in the mountains of Ubay to tap the running water from Pilar, downstream to Ubay for the agricultural water needs of the town.

It has been an honor to have met for the first time face to face a man who was full of vision and optimism to develop Ubay and Bohol per se 's water resources, agriculture and infrastructure. potential. 20 years ago this man have already been talking about Ubay/Bohol water, Ubay Rice, Livestock, Fruit Trees, etc., etc. - all about Ubay and Bohol's development. One of the problem then to sustain the water potential of the SWIM project in Ubay is how to preserve its watershed areas. We were dispatched from the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Agriculture in Manila to personally assess the validity of a MOA between the Municipality of Ubay, the Bureau of Soils and Water Resources (BSWM) and the Department of Agriculture. The Municipality of Ubay was very hospitable to recommend to the Office of the President and its Sanggunian Bayan to provide funding for a project to preserve the watershed area surrounding the SWIM project in Ubay when informed that one of the problem was actually the funding source. It was, in fact, the Municipality of Ubay, which initiated the project to fence and rehabilitate the Waterhsed area of the SWIM Project in Ubay.

It was our first encounter of the man who, for almost two decades thereafter, our path crosses, again and again, for the development of Bohol from his recommended action to grant amnesty to NPA Commanders, among others - "Boy Simbajon" and his followers - to propel peace and development in his province, to mechanize the land development of NIA's Bohol Irrigation Project Stage I 's irrigated areas for its speedy turn over, his strong representation and support at the NEDA INFRA Committee for the funding requirement of NIA's Bohol Irrigation Project Stage II, where we sit side by side to defend the Project before the NEDA Board and the speedy accomplishment of the Bohol Circumferential Road Project. It was during the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos with Gen. Orlando Soriano as the Administrator of the National Irrigation Administration that the Bohol Irrigation Project Stage I was finally finished in less than two years after decades of project delays and cost overrun.

Today, Bohol is one of the most prosperous province in Western Visayas, the breadbasket of the weastern part of Visayas, a major toursit destination where peace and prosperity reigns. The province and the Boholonas, 'to a certain extent', owes this development to the man, who we consider as the modern time "FATHER OF BOHOL's GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT". Under his leadership, Bohol stood firm with the ideals of its forefather Dagohoy, as a proud Boholanos, rich in their culture, tradition and belief. We are talking of no less than the former Mayor, Provincial Board Member, Congressman and the incumbent Governor of Bohol - no other than Erico Aumentado, the modern day hero of Bohol.

The recent assignment of COL. ALAN LUGA, as the Commander of the Military's 802nd Brigade in Bohol shall surely strengthen this bond between the Boholanos and the Cebuanos to further strengthen the foundation of peace and development in Bohol and to secure the Province from intrussion of elements that threatens the progress that Bohol already enjoyed for two decades. COL. ALAN R. LUGA, is the son of GEN. EMILIO S. LUGA, JR. (PMA Class 54'), Chairman Emeritus of the PMA - Cebu Squad Inc., consisting of Cebuano speaking graduates and Cavaliers of the Philippine Military Academy here and abroad, the great grandson of a national hero, GEN. MATEO NORIEL LUGA, the Filipino General who sent Gen. Lawton with his fleet of Navy running away from battle in Cebu during the Filipino-American War.



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

THE 89' COUP

(The family picture of the Somoza-Luga Clan during the death of Celestino Sta. Romana, the husband of Ruperta Luga-Sta. Romana)


IN QUEST FOR PEACE

THE FOILED 1989' COUP

(The untold story)

In honor of General Emilio S. Luga Jr.,

and Col. Mateo Luga



It was almost twenty years ago on December 1989 when then Captain Danilo Lim together with the Army's elite Scout Ranger Regiment marched along Fort Bonifacio's main road leading to Makati singing the Scout Ranger's song. Less than a kilometer away from the main road at the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency's (NICA) compound, General Rodolfo Canieso, NICA's Director General, with his aide, Max Caro, then a Captain in the Philippine Army, with their staff, were listening to their radioman eavesdropping troop movements. After receiving a brief telephone call, General Canieso remarked: we will repel them!



The entire regiment of the Scout Rangers brought along with them high powered firearms, machine guns, bazookas, mortars, explosives and all sorts of ammunitions from the Logistic Command. Battle tested Rangers who fought Muslim separatist rebel in combat under the command of Captain Danilo Lim were in high spirits. Captain Lim, the most respected junior officer in the Regiment who fought hand in hand with his men during the Mindanao conflict in the early 80's was then a Lieutenant when he was under the command of General Emilio S. Luga Jr., the Commanding General of the Army's elite division, the First Infantry "Tabak" Division, a home to the Scout Ranger Regiment.


Unlike previous coup' d etat, were General Canieso, who was then the Army's Chief, personally took control of a tank leading his men to crash the walls of Camp Aguinaldo, where then Col. Gregorio Honasan with his handful of trainee's from Fort Magsaysay encamped, the General is now helpless. Without well equipped army to command, his men were no match with the superior firepower of the rebel forces and unlike the Army, NICA is a civilian agency without an armory and combat ready troop. Moreover, its role is only to provide information and not to engage into combat.


Not known from the outside world, however, NICA have real-time updates of troop movements from both sides. The high-tech equipment it used to monitor, break and intercept radio messages (a very sophisticated UHF radio transmitter, which can be acquired legally) , was allegedly donated by the PLDT , where Col. Mateo Luga, then Vice-President for Security Affairs of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), the brother of the late Col. Isagani Luga and a cousin of Gen. Emilio S. Luga Jr., both of PMA Batch 54', donated by the PLDT. The equipment may have been dilapidated and, maybe . . . surely - out of service today.


Col. Mateo Luga, a retired Army Colonel during the Marcos administration is a highly respected officer. Nobody can penetrate the security cordon of the PLDT under his watch and nobody dares to cross path with the security detail that Col. Mateo Luga laid in PLDT, friends or foe alike. Eavesdropping by the military or by any intelligence agency using the facility of PLDT is a blatant breach for Col. Luga, regardless of friendship or blood relationship. The PLDT, however, allegedly helped NICA acquire high-tech communication equipment (a UHF that can be legally acquired ihe market) as a gesture of goodwill to Gen. Canieso, who was a fellow Cavalier of Isagani (who died many years before the 89' coup) and his cousin, Emilio, Jr..


Meanwhile, rebel forces took control of Makati. They commandeered vital installations and occupied buildings of strategical value, but not the PLDT Compound along Ayala Avenue. I heard later that there were allegedly some security personnel of Col. Mateo Luga' who died defending PLDT's facility when rebel forces tried to force their way into the compound. Snipers and machinegun batteries were set in place by the SRs atop the buildings of significant value in Makati business district. Those positioned at the twin towers along Ayala Avenue were so effective that it basically foiled series of attempt by government forces to penetrate Ayala Avenue even under cover by armored personnel carrier. Explosive devices were carefully planted in strategic locations that no armored personnel carrier or even a tank can penetrate their security cordon without heavy damage and casualty. Infantrymen with bazookas and mortars were scattered in the area. Many tried to enter Ayala Avenue, but failed and retreated. General Aguirre and Mayor Binay, were among them. It was a New Year's eve every night for about a week. Volley of gunfire, tracer bullets and flares exchanges above the horizon when darkness strikes.


After two or three days, if my memory serves me right, foreign guests entered the NICA compound and left after a brief conference. Subsequently, a US jet fighter hovered over the sky. The phone rang . . . somebody at the other end of the line was looking for General Canieso. At the other end, it was General Emilio S. Luga, Jr. and with him was Col. Arturo Enrile, who later became the Commanding General of the Philippine Army and thereafter, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. General Emilio S. Luga Jr., one of the most senior officer in the Philippine Army, a well respected Scout Ranger and veteran of the Vietnam and Mindanao war, helped the government convince the rebel forces to return to barracks peacefully. These were his men, whom he has been with fighting side by side during the Mindanao conflict in the 80's. As their former leader, General Emilio Luga, Jr., although retired, voluntarily went out of his way to see his men - a trait of a general they once called the "Rommel of Mindanao", who never leave his men in battle. After the Scout Rangers agreed to return to barracks peacefully, General Luga proceeded to Visayas to convince rebel forces in Cebu to lay down their arms and to peacefully return to the folds of law.


It was the trust and respect from his men that General Emilio S. Luga, Jr., earned that helped the government convince the junior officers to lay down their arms and peacefully return to barracks. General Emilio S. Luga, Jr., who earned the reputation as the "Rommel of Mindanao", for his bravery into leading his men in the front line - in combat during the Mindanao conflict, is well loved and respected by his men even after he retired from the service. It was this contributory factor, which decisively ended the Makati siege in the 1989’ ‘coup d etat’. General Arturo Enrile, later became the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was, however, sad that Gen. Enrile’s career ended briefly by his death.


Today, General Emilio S. Luga, Jr., and Col. Mateo Luga, the grandson of the late General Mateo Noriel Luga, the Katipunero General who nearly captured and sent General Henry Lawton running away from battle with his American expeditionary forces from the island of Cebu, is now in their early 80's. Like their grandfather before them, many of their exploits were not made public. Soon they will be joining the ranks of the many Luga who has served this Republic and who, not known to others, played significant role in molding and shaping the history of our nation. It would be best then for those who knows of their heroism and exploits to honor them while they can still appreciate our gratefulness for their unselfish effort, sacrifices and heroic deeds to ensure that democracy and freedom reigns for our future generation to come. In has been an honor serving with them in that fateful week of December 1989.


(Inset pictures: 1. Upper photo: The Somoza Luga Clan; 2. Mid portion photo : Gen. Emilio S. Luga, Jr.; 3. Lower photo: Col. Mateo Luga)



(Above excerpts were based on the personal account of Roy R. Luga, who was then with General Rodolfo Canieso, in that fateful week of December 1989.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Feature