The discovery of a dead oarfish floating in the waters off Barangay (Village) Doljo in Panglao town had sparked debates and discussions on social media whether oarfish can predict earthquakes.
According to Lampell Cloma, the dead oarfish was found floating in the sea on Wednesday afternoon in Barangay (Village) Doljo this town.
Cloma, 24, said that around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, a fisherman Gomer Milanes found the oarfish. With the help of another fisherman, they brought the oarfish to the shore.
It was not known how the fish died and how it ended up near the beach. However, according to Cloma, the gills were fresh.
Since their sightings are rare so not much is known about the behavior of the oarfish, residents were worried and afraid when they saw the oarfish.
Stories proliferated linking the earthquake to incidents of oarfish beaching that prefaced a disaster.
“Nakurat ug nahadlok mi pagkakita namo kay naa lagi daw meaning basta mogawas na isdaa (We were terrified because it has meaning when it can be seen on the surface),” said Cloma.
Another resident Marina Guibone knelt on the sand, prayed with fervour, and made the sign of cross when she the oarfish.
“Kuyaw nga tilimad-on (It’s a bad omen),” said Guibone.
Cloma said it was their first time to see an oarfish in the village.
She said that around 6 p.m., a municipal employee measured the oarfish which was 15 feet.
Oarfish is sea creature living in a deep water and can be rarely spotted in shallow waters.
Some experts believe that the deep-sea creatures living more than 1,000 ft. under the sea are very sensitive when it comes to fault movements and nature activities. They were living in the deep waters so they can easily detect any ground movement.
In Japanese folklore, the oarfish is known as the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace” and appears on beaches to predict earthquakes.
An oarfish was found on Feb. 8, two days before the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Surigao City.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol province in 2013.
3 death penalty votes that surprised us
Our representatives- Rene Relampagos (1st District), Erico Aristotle Aumentado (2nd District), and Arthur Yap (3rd District)- went along with the majority, voting “Yes”.
Only 54 voted “No”, and one abstained for the reintroduction of death penalty up to the final voting on Tuesday.
Yap based his vote on the survey through social media and his district which showed majority of the respondents preferred death penalty.
In a statement, Yap said that it was not a decision lightly reached even as more than a great majority of those polled voted affirmatively for the body of crimes outlined in the original bill.
“It is not that the Third District of Bohol is populated by blood thirsty people. And surely, let it not be said that we love God less. It is just that my District believes that when one commits barbaric acts against our fellow man, such as rape, murder, kidnapping, treason, piracy and more, that perpetrator has also given up his right to live among civilized men and women,” Yap said in a statement.
“The Government sees the death penalty as the natural consequence of justice paid by a convicted felon for having robbed the lives of others. But this should not mean that the Government must focus on sending as many people to meet this penalty. The Government must instead continue strengthening institutions and programs that deliver basic services that create opportunities for its citizens to live decently and honorably. When income rises and poverty decreases, the scourge of drugs will naturally abate,” Yap said.
Aumentado said he preferred that it would include murder, rape and plunder as originally proposed.
“I was at first inclined to abstain, finally decided to vote “Yes” on the second and the third reading, considering the watered-down version,” he said.
Aumentado said House Speaker Bebot Alvarez assured him that rape, murder and plunder would have their own death penalty bill that will be more specific.
“In totality, I want rape, murder and plunder to have death as penalty. They are equally as heinous as selling drugs. However, since the measure was cut down to only one punishable act in focus, it helped me to come up with a stand,” he said.
In a statement, Relampagos said that human rights does not only refer to the rights of the accused but to all citizens.
“I voted yes an affirmation of hope for the future and for a culture of peace. The fact that hundreds of thousand surrendered under the governments drive against drugs show the manifest vastness of our problem against drugs. It is high time that we strengthen our fight against it. If we do not do anything about it, we can just imagine where we will be a few years from now. Hundreds of thousand more?” he said.
He said he voted yes an affirmation of the country’s shared fight drugs.
“You name it, drugs destroys life, liberty and property. It destroys families and communities. It destroys good governance and integrity in the public service. It destroys trust in the Maker of life. I join it the fight against it,” he said.
Tagbilaran resident Bienna Ursula Bautista Cornacchia, 29, had expressed her support for death penalty for drug addicts who committed heinous crimes.
“I am in favor of death penalty for specific crimes such as murder, homicide and, rape, especially those done unto minors and children. And if not, perhaps castration without anesthesia would serve as a good punishment for sex offenders. They should have thought of that. However, for drug-related cases, as long as they have not committed heinous crimes such as rape and murder, they can go to jail for as long as the court decides or have one finger cut to teach them a lesson. Harsher punishment is necessary. Death penalty can be a good punishment for certain crimes but not for all crimes,” said Cornacchia.
Some Boholano Catholics maintain that the death penalty is a violation of the right to life and an unauthorized by human beings of God’s sole lordship over life and death.
“Our Philippine Constitution guarantees our right to life,” said Juanito Niluag, 43.
“The direct and voluntary killing of a human being is always gravely immoral,” he added.
He suggested that the justice system should be improved first before death penalty will be imposed again.
“I was not surprised because Boholano solons have almost always kowtowed to the ruling party. But it's still sad to be proven right this way,” said cultural worker architect Liza Macalandag who is in Netherlands. “Death penalty, which has been proven to stop criminality, is regressive, inhumane and just plain wrong. This Congress has made in humans of us all.”
Bishop Alberto Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran said on his Facebook account that imposing death penalty to the offenders could not guarantee that it gives justice and peace to the victims.
In Bohol, the devotion of the people to religion gave rise to numerous old stone churches before it was damaged due to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the province in 2013. In Tagbilaran City, tricycles have biblical quotes.
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