By Geraldford P. Ticke

A FEW weeks ago, news greeted us with the extraction of oil from Galoc field in Palawan. With 20,000 barrels a day, Galoc will supply at least 6% of the country’s petroleum needs for the next few years. With the global financial crisis, 6% is somewhat a relief for the country.

Also last week end, the Department of Public Works and Highways Palawan 2nd Engineering District did a round on projects funded by Malampaya Money coursed through Rep. Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra and under their supervision. Of the 100 school buildings at P1 million per classroom being constructed, most of the school buildings are already 100% complete while some are around 90% done. DPWH’s Engr. Mar Soriano says all projects (school buildings, road improvements – widening and concreting and other infrastructure projects) funded by Malampaya released last year will be completed by December 3.

Also notable is the widened roads particularly in Bgy. Panalingaan, Rizal going to Bataraza, a cross country road that links the 2 municipalities. Soriano also explained that they have submitted to higher office a proposal to convert the road from provincial to national for them to plan better for the road which was first opened in the early 1990’s. Its reopening sometime around 2004 gave a big sigh of relief to residents in the barangays of the 2 neighboring municipalities.

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“There is unity in diversity.” I’m missing the name here but these words came from a religious leader during a rally denouncing gambling in the city some years back.

And these words seem to ring again come 2010 elections with religious leaders wanting to take the plunge for the country’s top post. First off, Eddie Villanueva of Jesus Is Lord who took a shot at presidency last 2004 seems thinking of having a second try. During the religious sect’s 30th founding anniversary Villanueva was quoted as saying that “if situation arise, there is a possibility…”

And what better way for Villanueva to cast himself in to the fray than pounce on a very controversial bill in the House — the Reproductive Health Bill. Villanueva along with El Shaddai’s Mike Velarde and the Iglesia Ni Cristo have aired their disapproval of the bill. Although their objections come in different forms, their voice clearly speak of one end. But the catch is not the bill.

What rubs in most is the fact that should these three groups come together as one by election period, they will be a force to reckon with. With Villanueva’s claim of 20 million or so followers not being able to put him to Malacañang last 2004, he can bank on Velarde’s troops and the solid vote of INC by now should they consider the idea.

But at the bottom lies the diversity that will put to test as to what extent the unity will go.

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