A Rhode Island-based newspaper published online a letter written by a Navy veteran in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a concert in Las Vegas where already 60 have died and 500 were injured by the lone gunman who killed himself after the carnage.

The letter entitled “Dear God” is among many circulating in the net that poses so many questions to the Almighty about why he allows such tragedies to happen on earth.

Published at 10:20 p.m. at the Suffolk News Herald, the letter written by Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, begins withDear God, at the outset, I thank you, dear Almighty God, that I’m alive and doing well. Thank you for my faith, family and friends near and far. I pray, God bless all of us, and may you always keep us safe from harm. Make us a channel of your peace to everyone we come in contact with. And let us love you more as we try our best to love our family, friends and neighbors. Let peace reign in our heads and our hearts. All of this I ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.’”

The letter was published exactly the day of the Feast of St. Francis of Assissi, patron of the poor who is venerated for the prayer “Make me a Channel of Your Peace.”

He narrated how saddened he felt hearing from on Monday morning the National Public Radio’s Morning Edition about the tragic mass shooting incident in Las Vegas.

Singer Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night when the shooting occurred. Country star Jake Owen was also there on stage and witnessed the shooting. Such a traumatic scenario. There was chaos and confusion, panic and fear, he wrote.

“As of this writing, dear God, nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 were injured. Police have identified the shooter as Stephen Paddock, 64, a local resident, who took his own life as police closed in on his position.

Dear God, why? Why did this massacre happen? Why would a gunman disrupt a concert and inflict violence against people who were simply having a good time? Why did he do it, dear God? What was his motive? What made him do it? Was he mentally deranged? Was this an act of revenge or just merely an act to prove that he was powerful and fearless because of his weapons?

Was he under the influence of drugs and alcohol? Where, when and how did he get all his weapons? Why did he choose to attack that group of people? Who or what may have influenced him to perpetrate this shooting spree?

We search for answers, dear God. Please enlighten us who are shocked and saddened and devastated about this attack.

Lots of tragic incidents gun violence, dear God, have taken place in our country — Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and more. Why?

There are debates upon debates regarding gun laws, and yet people continue to be killed. These innocent victims had their lives cut short and their dreams unrealized because of bullets. They did not live their life to their full potentials because of bullets fired from guns.

Families are left helpless and hapless, torn and devastated. They mourn their loss without ceasing. Why, dear God? Why?

Dear God, please make us peace-loving and law-abiding people. Please make us vigilant and considerate, respectful, understanding and tolerant of others. Make us instruments of your goodness, peace and love.


May those victims and their families find peace, comfort and love. Thank you, dear and loving God.

SM Foundation Inc. inaugurated last Aug. 15 the 34th municipal health center in the country in fitting fiesta rites at Lemery, Batangas, with the grateful townsfolk proudly gracing their newest healthcare facility.

The refurbished health center was a gift to the townsfolk who were celebrating their fiesta the following day, which is why buntings were hanged all over the municipal streets and a school band made the launch a more joyous occasion.

The health center was opened months before the SM Group could open its SM Center in Lemery.

The municipal health center, located right beside the municipal hall and jail, caters to almost 100,000 residents of 46 barangays around it.

The officiating priest, who blessed the facility, reminded the municipal health officials, to always tend to the needs of the indigent (giving them topmost priority in health care) as they are the ones who can’t avail of private healthcare services.

“If you forget their needs and do not give them what is also due them, then this prosperous health center (just like other facilities) will soon become irrelevant and lose their meaning in God’s eyes,” he said.



The Lemery Municipal health center is distinct in that of the 34 refurbished centers, it is the only one which contains a new accreditation requirement by Philhealth for services like animal bites, vaccine room and cold storage and a store-like pharmacy. Some of the previous centers upgraded only had piles of boxes stocked in a bodega.

But as with all other health centers SMFI upgraded, it has a dental room, a Felicidad Sy Wellness Center for Children and the Elderly; pre natal and breastfeeding room, storage room, diagnosis room, laboratory, TB DOTS, office of the sanitary inspector, conference room and pantry, comfort rooms including a newly-built toilet for people with disabilities; archives and records room.


Comfort, fun

In the children’s wellness center are toys and a play area which would help the toddlers and kids to make visiting the doctor a fun and pleasant experience while those for the elderly have comfortable couches while they wait on the doctor to attend to them. All health centers are also equipped with flat screen television and electric fans to make the patients’ stay at the center pleasant and comfortable.

Just like the upgrading of military and armed service medical and health facilities, the health centers are maintained by SMFI through the local SM store personnel to ensure that they are in good condition for a long period.

The well-equipped pharmacy of Lemery will serve as a dispenser of medicines and vitamins prescribed by the doctor as the municipality does not yet have a position for municipal pharmacist. Medicines are all provided by the municipality and the Department of Health.

Leandro de Ramos, nurse of Lemery Municipal Health Center for 12 years, said the most common sicknesses of people visiting the health center are: upper respiratory infection (cold and cough), dog bites and rabies cases (which were referred to the provincial district hospital in Barangay Palanas some 200 to 300 meters away), diarrhea and even high blood pressure.

The center has a doctor (with a new OIC Dr. Janice Kahulugan), a dentist, two nurses, 10 midwives (whose services are vital in pre natal care) but no nutritionist, de Ramos said citing that the center attends to 150 to 200 patients a day (many on a repeated consultation basis).

The health center was built in 1975 on 350 square meters (from an 800 sq.m. lot donated by the International Bank for Rural Development).

Among those present for the occasion were: Lemery Vice Mayor Monette Rosales-Gamo; SMFI Executive Director for Healthcare Connie Angeles; NenyRegino, SMFI public relations and several key   regional and provincial officers of the SM Group.


“There is a very thin line between confidence and arrogance.” -Adam Peaty



My neighbor Jonas asked me to help him source workers for his new food-cart business. So, I asked for a simple list of Duties and Responsibilities.

JONAS:  That’s not necessary. I just need ‘helpers’. All they need to do is follow what I say as the need arises.

ME:  But, they have the right to know your expectations.

JONAS:  Oh? They shouldn’t be so picky. I’m giving them a chance to earn money. They should be grateful. After all, they’re jobless!

ME:  Come on, a basic list of Do’s and Don’ts will be useful.

JONAS:  Stop telling me what to do.

ME:  At the very least, address their doubts and fears with a clear Yes or No.

JONAS:  Ugh, you know I hate applicants and workers who ask too many questions.



Jonas was arrogantly sure that jobless people would be desperate to get hired. Well, guess what? Tomorrow is the opening day of his food-cart business.

Despite being unemployed, none of the applicants wanted to work for Jonas. They felt confused, afraid and insecure because he was vague about their tasks.



When interviewing job applicants, here are two basic reminders.

1.       Prepare a simple checklist of duties and responsibilities.

2.       Answer their questions directly: Yes or No.

Is that so hard to do? Hay naku!


Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on YouTube and Facebook: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400



“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” –Mark Twain


I was enjoying an early dinner in a nearby café across the park. The noise level suddenly went up as a bunch of rowdy teenagers came in and started acting as if they owned the place.

They began to play games on their cellphones with speakers ON. How rude and insensitive. The least they could have done was to use earphones. To make matters worse, they laughed boisterously as they competed with each other. 

Although the customers of the café were glaring at them, they behaved with a sense of entitlement – oblivious to everyone else’s discomfort. 

Just as the manager was reminding the ‘uncivilized’ noise-makers that they were not in a gaming center, a woman barged in and started verbally attacking the manager. “Hey, why are you picking on my nephews? I told them to wait for me here while I visited my friend in a nearby condo. They can make all the noise they want – because they are kids! You are just an employee.”



Acting as if she and her group were victims, the woman lambasted the manager who was just doing his job. Apparently, she was used to the loud and uncouth behavior of her tribe. Lacking in basic manners herself, she failed to see that this was not the ideal place for kids to play noisy games. Thank goodness they soon left the premises.



We customers admired the manager for behaving professionally amidst the woman’s assault.

When challenged to a duel by an energy vampire, here are some simple reminders. 

• Choose your battles.

• Don’t bother to defend yourself.

• Just do your duty.


Arguing with a dimwit is simply an exercise in futility. Hay naku!

Vivien Mangalindan is available for Customer Service Training, Interpersonal Communication Skills Coaching, and Public Speaking Seminars. * She is also a Broadcaster. Be entertained as you get informed every Monday at 3:00 p.m. Tune in to SHOW AND TELL RADIO on DWBL 1242 AM radio - with video LIVE streaming on YouTube and Facebook: Show And Tell Radio. * Read her column online in Facebook: Hay Naku Pinoy. * Do you want your products and services to be featured on her show? Text 0918-521-5400


Ms. Debbie Sy, executive director of SMFI Foundation

SOLDIERS - many of them in their 20s to early 30s - are rushed daily to V. Luna Medical Center from Marawi, wounded from shrapnel, snipers, mortars, IEDs and even land mines but their spirits are high and they are determined to even the score with the enemies.

Some of them have battled with the Maute gang (believed to be allied with global terror group, ISIS), the Abu Sayyaf, the BIFF and even the New People’s Army in Mindanao and the Visayas.

But one thing they have that their enemies don’t have is the active support of individuals and private groups/companies, who provide them with medical health facilities and comfort; basic personal hygiene materials; airconditioned and fully-equipped medical wards (courtesy of SM Foundation Inc.); medicines (courtesy of Mercury Drug) and other naval medical and information facilities (from San Miguel Corp) and well-trained hospital medical crew (by Makati Medical Center).

Even those in armed medical institutions in Cagayan de Oro, Nueva Ecija and other provinces of the country are given this same amount of care and comfort with the facilities and dispensaries rehabilitated and refurbished by the SM Foundation Inc.

SMFI officials led by Debbie Pe Sy, executive director of SMFI; Chito Macapagal, trustee and corporate affairs head of SM Group, Annie Garcia, president of SM Supermalls and Connie Angeles, executive director for health of SMFI visited those in V. Luna last June 23 and spoke with the wounded soldiers of the Marawi and other battles as they distributed 120 bags of personal hygiene and transistor radios to help the soldiers battle occasional depression, loneliness and anxieties, when they are by their lonesome selves at night.

The visit to V. Luna by different groups was timed with the 119th Founding anniversary of the AFP Medical Service that day, which was also the venue by which the armed service thanked its private sector partners, who have held their hands during such torturous times.

SM Foundation Inc. led three other awardees during the anniversary of the AFP Medical Service last June 23 for rehabilitating run-down military dispensaries and health facilities that helped soldiers recover better and faster aside from boosting the morale of the wounded and their dependents.

Connie Angeles, SM Foundation Inc. executive director for health services

 Battle Memories

Pvt. Adrian Arguelles, 26, just finished schooling and training five months ago and was sent to Marawi for his first battle experience. Though not married yet. He was hit by M16 by an enemy who was barely 30 meters away from him. He trained in Pagadian but he hails from Negros.

Cpl. Dominic Andan, a Scout Ranger, had been fighting for 11 years but this was the first time he became a battle casualty. He, too, was hit by an M16 from a distance of 100 meters. He shouted at his fellow soldiers for help and he was literally dragged down to safety. His family is from Davao.

Cpl.  Raagas of Zamboanga del Sur was hit hard on the foot by an M14 as he was doing a building to building clearing. His enemy was positioned at next building but managed to hit him through a huge hole they tore from the wall of where he was 10 to 15 meters away. It took him 1 to 2 hours to be retrieved and taken to the helipad where a flight would take him to where the C130 was. He and his classmate were hit by the enemy in the same position. Luckily, they are both alive. He vowed to fight again, when he completely recovers. Dr. Yap said Raagas was profusely bleeding when brought to V. Luna and they had to take him to the intensive care unit soonest.

Pfc. Noben Trojello said he had fought several battles with the NPA in Surigao, Davao and Marawi and prior to the Maute battle in Marawi they were training in the jungles. He had been a soldier for six years and it is only now that he was hit hard on the hand by an enemy who saw and fired at him from a third story building. The enemy went on rampage fatally hitting the soldier at the mechanical force.

For Cpl. Roy Pakibot, a soldier of 10 years, the battle with Maute was his first battle casualty and he was hit exactly on Father’s day by an RPG while inside a house. He was extricated from the scene by a passing tanker. He was taken to V. Luna on June 22 after being treated first in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro. He had been fighting the ASG in Basilan and Jolo.

1st Lt. Nino Paat, 28, was hit 100 to 150 meters away by an enemy mortar. His first battle was with the NPA and ASG but he wants to fight again to even the score with the enemy.

As AFP Surgeon General BGen. Joseph Acosta said many soldiers are confined at Camp Evangelista in CDO, the Adventist Hospital in Iligan and in Northern Mindanao Medical Center.


Renovated hospitals

The SM Foundation Inc. has also rehabilitated the following hospitals: Air Force General Hospital in Villamor Air Base; NAVSOG Sick Bay in Sangley, Cavite; Air Force City Hospital in Clark, Pampanga; Camp Gen. Aguinaldo Station Hospital; Fernando Air Base Hospital in Lipa City; Police National Training Institute in Canlubang, Laguna; Camp Nakar Station Hospital in Lucena, Quezon; Camp Banaag  Station Hospital; the Camp Gen. Artemio Ricarte Medical Station in Palawan; the Police National Training Institute in Canlubang; Fort Magsaysay Station Hospital in Cabanatuan; Pediatric Ward of AFP General Hospital in Pasay City; the PNP Special Action Force Training Branch Dispensary; the Naval Education and Training Command Station Hospital in San Antonio, Zambales; the Cavite Naval Hospital and the 1st Scout Rangers dispensary in San Miguel, Bulacan.

A grateful AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said the support extended by private partners like SM Foundation (Mercury Drug, San Miguel Corp and Makati Medical Center were the other awardees) has made the uniformed men feel more determined to fight and protect the citizens from internal and external invasions and the adventurism of wayward elements.

Ano said the active support of the private companies and the President’s all-out support to the armed service and the institutions that support their well-being such as the AFP Medical Service have enabled it to really “go a long way from its humble beginnings.” #


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Tuesday, 21 January 2020
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