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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, August 13, 2019
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with Eli F.J. Tajanlangit

It ainít over yet

Rock & Refuge

It’s practically back to normal at the Vallacar Transit company now that Leo Rey Yanson, the son who had led the company to the heights, has retaken control of its main offices. And while this can be a period of peace – we pray it will be – it is wise for everyone to keep in mind that this is nothing but an interlude, a temporary respite. We all hope the worst is over but depending on how both parties react to the next developments, this could just be the calm before the storm.Things could still snap and God forbid, turn for the worse. This story hasn’t ended yet and it is a long, long way before we write -30- to it. For one, there are pending cases in the courts and how those will be decided can spark an ugly reaction from the party who would feel aggrieved by those decisions.

Friends of both sides should take this temporary period of peace as an opportunity to try to settle this amicably. Or perhaps, the siblings themselves can try reaching out to each other and begin the process of healing. Any effort for peace is worth it, at this point. The alternative is something we all would not want to happen.

Most of us may not have paid too much attention to it but in the aftermath of the siege at the company headquarters in Mansilingan, Bacolod City last week, reports said the police found improvised petrol bombs and what appeared to be tools for violence. Whose were those, or which side would use them, the reports did not say. Thank God they were not used. But they certainly gave us an inkling that it is not exactly far-fetched for this feud to flare up into violence. Things, indeed, could spiral out of control. I’m sure no one would admit ownership of those tools for violence but their discovery should be enough to prod the concerned parties to begin the process for reconciliation however dim the prospects for that appear at present.

Besides, if you really come down to it, whichever way this matter ends, both sides would have lost. No one of them will come out of this conflict unscathed, already they all have scars and they will continue to have more scars as the case drags on. It is urgent therefore that they find a way out of this as one, united family.

It is not for us to stray into the personal lives of the Yansons, but since the conflict inside the family has now spilled over and affected the public, I think the public does have a right to pry now, particularly in the context of what happened last week when their Ceres buses were grounded and thousands were stranded. After last week’s events, this is no longer a family matter; this is now a matter of public interest.

One question we seem to have been afraid to ask is: What drove the four siblings, the Yanson 4 as they are now known, to do what they did? To say they were driven by greed is just downright simplistic and unfair. One does not defy, or worse, hurt one’s mother for no compelling reason. What their reasons are must be known to fully understand this case. Since this crisis broke out, I don’t think we have heard or read the real reasons yet of the Yanson 4. People are quick to condemn them, but there are always two sides to a story, that nothing is ever entirely black or entirely white. The world is gray, yes. The Yanson 4 should open up; the public ought to keep an open mind about them.

On the other hand, the one person who has captured the hearts of people from Day 1 is, no doubt, the matriarch, Olivia V. Yanson, who showed the stuff of steel she is made of; how she is fighting for what she and her husband, Ricardo, built all these years. Let us not discuss the right and wrong in this case, but the sight of this 85-year old, diabetic mother wading into the conflict and making her wishes known and be respected; the way she fielded media questions with her down-home wit and intelligence were enough to break our hearts. It is such a tragedy that four of her children cannot seem to feel the same. Why?*

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