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Manila in a water crisis, Painter of religious art Joey Velasco passes away

Manila is one of the few megapolises in the world which is dependent on one water catchment or dam for its water needs. The city depends almost solely from Angat Dam for water and power generation. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that 50% of the city is under water rationing. The worrisome story here is that this rationing is implemented in the rainy season.

While the rains have been falling, only two tropical cyclones have passed and people observed that they were more windy than rainy. The last one raised Angat's water level by 0.2 m. The dam's water level is 15 m from the normal. The rain bearing "habagat" winds have not yet blown.

August is historically the wettest month. Unless weather patterns change, next month may be the driest August. September is the last month of the wet season and then the dry begins. The only thing to be done is to lessen water use.

Renowned painter Joey Velasco passed away yesterday from a lingering illness. He was 43 and is survived by his wife Queeny and four children.

Velasco according to his biography went into painting after suffering a near fatal illness that resulted in the loss of one of his kidneys. Suffering from depression, Velasco took the brush and painted a reinterpretation of the Last Supper called Hapag ng Pag-Asa. The children in Hapag are real flesh and blood characters. Each child paints a picture of suffering and joy and the path to salvation.

I saw the original painting in an exhibit and like an Icon, it bared my sins but at the same time it provided the way to salvation. But the painting is more than an Icon that bares individual sins of commission and omissions. It strongly bares the sins of Pinoy society. And the painting reflects what is true. One Christmas day, I saw street kids (the same number as in the Hapag painting) sharing a meal under the EDSA Kamuning flyover. Christ was there and the image was burned into my memory. I wept.

Now Joey Velasco is now called home by the Master to share in His table in the Father's house of many rooms.

Let me say In Paradisum for you, Joey

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who was once poor may you have eternal rest.



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