Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Why Sara won’t play a loaded dice in Iloilo

“I am a teacher. It's how I define myself. A good teacher isn't someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That's the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it'll have to do a lot with teaching.”
--Justin Trudeau

By Alex P. Vidal

-- ALTHOUGH she has publicly raised the hand of Iloilo City mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, presidential daughter Sara Duterte apparently is also “rooting” for Espinosa’s rival, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas, in the May local elections.
As a rumored presidential timber in 2022, the mayor of Davao City can’t afford to play a loaded dice in Iloilo City politics.
“Wooing” certain political characters or “showing moral support” to their candidacy is a political gambit that has been played up even by some of the famous politicians in antiquity.
Antagonizing one party and embracing another is tantamount to a political suicide for any candidate running for a national office in the future.
Thus Mayor Duterte only probably wanted to please not only both Espinosa and Trenas, but also their political supporters and sponsors, when she recently lent them her aroma.
Her gestures should not be interpreted with finality every time she is seen hobnobbing with local candidates anywhere in the Philippines.
Whoever wins between Espinosa and Trenas will definitely be an asset in her presidential campaign three years from now.
Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Mayor Duterte’s infant but fast-expanding political party, will surely invite or recruit more local chief executives -- governors and mayors -- after the May elections.
The party will go for the winners, not the losers.
Victory, after all, has many fathers; defeat is an orphan.


Those who don’t believe that Mayor Duterte will not run for the Philippines’ highest office should start to wake up.
Mayor Duterte did not organize the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which made many PDP-Laban stalwarts insecure and nervous, for nothing.
Her body language, as well as the body language of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, speaks louder these past months; her regular activities and nationwide trips were loaded with interpretations that tilt on a strong possibility she will be running for president.
She probably believes she and her father can do in the Philippines what they did in Davao City: becoming the first father and daughter to reign as city mayor; this time, they might shoot to become the second father and daughter in Philippine history to occupy Malacanang’s highest seat after Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Arroyo, who is now the House speaker.
Although President Duterte has not admitted it-- and will most likely not admit it, no father will stand in the way if he thinks there is a big chance her daughter will succeed him as president.


Many drug lords with links in the Filipino-Chinese community who were active in the previous elections in the Philippines either as financiers or candidates themselves are expected to either shy away or maintain a low profile role in the coming elections
They can’t afford to make a noise or display their fangs even if they claim to have solid ties with some powerful officials in government, police, and the military.
They are aware of President Duterte’s standing order for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to “make life difficult” for these drug lords once they are spotted or arrested.
The threats of violence or even death hangs over their heads like a Sword of Damocles; and if they make one fatal false move, they will be decimated; and their cases will be buried in the statistics of those “killed for resisting police arrest.”
Haven’t we noticed that most of them have surreptitiously “disappeared” and nowhere to be found or heard these past years since President Duterte assumed power?
If they weren’t yet buried six feet below the ground or allowed to escape to China, they are just probably “on standby” for the bigger battle in 2022: the presidential derby.
Only fools can’t read between the lines.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Monday, March 18, 2019

We can help solve water shortage

"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them."
--Mitch Hedberg

By Alex P. Vidal

-- We should pay attention to what the authorities in charge of our water supply are saying now that El Niño phenomenon is again wreaking havoc in many areas in the Philippines.
If they are saying that water level in our dams like the Maasin Dam in Maasin, Iloilo has dipped below critical level, let's do our part as water consumers to help arrest the situation in one way or the other.
We can afford to have a rice shortage over a certain period of time, but not water; we can live for more than a week without a solid food in the body, but we can't last long if our body can't take a certain amount of water for five to seven days.
Water Use It Wisely tells us that when washing dishes by hand, "don’t let the water run." We need to fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.


If our dishwasher is new, let's cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones. Let's designate one glass for our drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
Let's soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean. Let's use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
Also let's wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. We shouldn't use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
Let's install an instant water heater near our kitchen sink so we don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
Let's reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
Let's cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary. If we accidentally drop ice cubes, let's now throw them in the sink. 
Drop them in a house plant instead. Collect the water we use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Let's use it to water house plants.


In the laundry room, when doing laundry, let's match the water level to the size of the load. Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps our clothes retain their color.
In the bathroom, let's shorten our shower by a minute or two and we’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
Let's time our shower to keep it under five minutes. We’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
Toilet leaks can be silent! Let's be sure to test our toilet for leaks at least once a year.
Let's put food coloring in our toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
If our toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, let's replace it.
Turn off the water while we brush your teeth and save up to four gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.


We may consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
Let's plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse our razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
We may turn off the water while washing our hair and save up to 150 gallons a month. When washing our hands, let's turn the water off while you lather.
Let's take five-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water. Let's install water-saving aerators on all of our faucets.
Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time. One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day. Let's check our faucets and showerheads for leaks.
While we wait for hot water, let's collect the running water and use it to water plants. Let' also teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use. When the kids want to cool off, let's use the sprinkler in an area where our lawn needs it most.
Let's encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.


Let's monitor our water bill for unusually high use. Our bill and water meter are tools that can help us discover leaks. Let's Learn how to use our water meter to check for leaks. Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water and grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and we can save 140 gallons a week.
Let's be leak detectives by checking all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but let's not forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
See a leak we can’t fix? Let's tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman. At home or while staying in a hotel, let's reuse our towels.
Let's make suggestions to our employer or school about ways to save water and money. Run our washer and dishwasher only when they are full. We can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
Let's see how our water use stacks up to others by calculating our daily water use.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Donde estas ahora?

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” 
-- George Bernard Shaw

By Alex P. Vidal

— It is believed that the best-ever Senate in the Philippines was the Sixth Congress in 1966-1969 headed by Senate President Arturo M. Tolentino.

The batch produced some of the country’s greatest statesmen and brilliant lawmakers like Alejandro D. Almendras, Gaudencio E. Antonino, Magnolia W. Antonino, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. (President Noynoy’s father), Dominador R. Aytona, and the marvelous Jose W. Diokno
Sixth Congress also saw the rise of the “Stormy Petrel of the South”, Iloilo City’s Rodolfo T. Ganzon, idol of the timawa (poor).
There was also Eva Estrada Kalaw, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Wenceslao R. Lagumbay, Juan R. Liwag, Genaro F. Magsaysay, Manuel P. Manahan Raul S. Manglapus, and Camilo Osias.
Cebu’s Sergio Osmeña, Jr. was a member of that illustrious batch along with Emmanuel N. Pelaez, Leonardo P. Perez, Gil J. Puyat, Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Gerardo M. Roxas (Mar’s father), the eminent Jovito R. Salonga, human rights behemoth Lorenzo M. Tañada, Lorenzo G. Teves, and Tecla San Andres Ziga.


The Senate Seventh Congress (1970-1973) led by Senate President Gil J. Puyat was also making waves, what with the presence of comebacking Ambrosio B. Padilla, team captain of the RP basketball team that placed third in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who first won as senator after he resigned as solicitor general under President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957.
But Martial Law cut short the senators’ tenure in 1972.
President Ferdinand Marcos subsequently phased out the Legislature as the country’s new Constitution transformed the system of government from presidential to parliamentary.
When democracy was restored after EDSA Revolution in 1986, the Senate Eight Congress (1987-1992) led by Senate President Jovito Salonga produced yet the country’s most dynamic and prolific leaders like Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Rene Saguisag, Edgardo Angara, Wigberto Tanada, Teopisto Guingona Jr., Joey Lina, Orlando Mercado, Heherson Alvarez, and the lone survivor from the opposition, Martial Law architect Juan Ponce Enrile.
Now Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. was the lone casualty from the President Cory Aquino-blessed administration senatorial ticket that nearly scored a sweep (Enrile bumped off Defensor for the 24th slot).


It was in the Senate Ninth Congress (1992-1995) led by Senate President Neptali Gonzalez where film comedian and action stars like Vicente Sotto III, Ramon Revilla Sr. and Freddie Webb started to make their present felt.
PBA playing-coach Robert Jaworski and putschist Gringo Honasan followed suit in the Senate 11th Congress (1998-2001) headed by Senate President Marcelo B. Fernan.
To add insult, action stars Lito Lapid, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada completed the Senate 13th Congress (2004-2007) led by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Another putschist Antonio Trillanes IV made it in the Senate 14th Congress (2007-2010) led by Senate President Manuel Villar.
And finally in the Senate 16th Congress (2013-2016) currently headed anew by Senate President Franklin Drilon, Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay stole the limelight.


To compound the matter, the Senate 17th Congress headed for another “disaster” with the “imminent” arrival of former bold star Alma Moreno and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
When Pericles died in 429 BC, the Greeks mourned the loss of arguably the most prominent and influential statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age.
When Draco died in 600 BC, the Greeks wept the departure of Ancient Greece’s first recorded legislator who laid down Greece’s first constitution known as Draconion Constitution.
Donde estas ahora or where are you now, the Philippines’ Pericles and Draco?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Honor, Conscience)

Any person of honor chooses rather to lose his honor than to lose his conscience.

Since honor is ego-based, losing it is not the end-all and be-all of our existence. Freedom of conscience, on the other hand, allows us to exercise our free will to choose between right and wrong. Losing our conscience is tantamount to being categorized with animals.

Friday, March 15, 2019

A wife to die for

“I love being my husband's wife.”
--Julianna Margulies

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I haven’t met Mrs. Victoria “Marivic” Griengo-Mabilog in person, but based on what I have heard in the news about her these past years, I think she is the kind of wife any husband will die for unconditionally.
Of all the elected public officials in the Philippines humiliated by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his dubious “narco list”, only former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog got a blistering open and all-out support from a wife, so far.
Mrs. Mabilog, who can swear to any ghost in heaven that her husband is innocent, had the guts to call the president a “liar.”
Mrs. Mabilog--or the Mabilog family--probably have had enough.
Any wife, a mother or a sister, can feel what Mrs. Mabilog felt when her husband was verbally abused repeatedly in national media, kicked while down on all four, subjected to unconscionable indignity, and treated like a worthless human being even if he wasn’t fighting back.
It seems the president was hell-bent not only to kill Mayor Mabilog’s enthusiasm for public service, but also his spirit as a human being.


If you are a victim of a false accusation, a slanderous and baseless imputation, a black propaganda and toxic politics, and your wife happens to be Mrs. Mabilog, who believes in your absolute innocence, you’re not doomed.
Judging from her passionate and fiery rebuttal of the president’s soliloquy linking her husband to a despicable activity based only on a fringe “intelligence report”, Mrs. Mabilog is the type of wife who will bite the bullet for her husband; a wife who’s willing to transform into a Medusa, a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair, and turn into stone those who will cast aspersion on her beloved husband.
The presidential persecution actually was too much; it’s over kill and already OA (overacting).
Is Mayor Mabilog really the worst politician in the Philippines?
What will President Duterte feel if one day, a political enemy will become president, by a stoke of luck, and also humiliate his son, Paolo; or daughter, Sara, and insist without any shred of evidence that they are members of international drug syndicate?
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)


There are others in President Duterte’s incredible list who may also be innocent like Mayor Mabilog, but their family members--wives, husbands, children--aren’t that intrepid and cocksure like Mrs. Mabilog to engage the foul-mouthed president in a word war.
We suspect some of those 46 politicians in the list could be really engaged in illegal drugs trade.
They should be prosecuted and prevented from being elected into public office; it’s a mockery of the law if they are paid by the taxpayers’ money and yet they promote and benefit from the destruction of those hooked on prohibited substance.
But the innocent should be spared from blatant and perpetual humiliation.
There’s no spare parts for a damaged reputation.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Enemy)

If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
-- SUN TZU :

Near or far, the best option is to prepare to smoke the proverbial peace pipe. There should be no permanent enemies, only permanent desire for peace.

We all need a peace of mind

"Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none."

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Dr. Joshua Liebman, author of a great inspirational bestseller, Peace of Mind, made a list of things he would like to have when he was a young man.
The list was long and included such things as health, love, talent, power, wealth, and fame.
He showed the list around, asking others for their opinion.
A wise, old friend of the young man's family looked the list over and said, Joshua this is an excellent list. It is set down in a reasonable order. But it appears, my young man, that you have omitted the most important element of all. You have forgotten one ingredient, lacking which, each possession becomes a hideous torment, and your list as a whole an intolerable burden.
And what is that missing ingredient? Joshua asked.
The wise, old friend replied by taking a pencil and crossed out Joshua's entire list. Then he wrote down three words: Peace of Mind.
That young man, Joshua Liebman, later became the author of the inspiring book which has sold millions of copies.
Peace of Mind answers a vital need. It correlates discoveries in the science of psychology with the eternal verities which have been handed down by generations of prophets and great religious leaders.
Dr. Liebman explores the many facets of human emotions and reveals how, in the inward quest for peace of mind, the penetrating visions of psychology are an indispensable ally.


In his "word to the reader", Dr. Liebman wrote: "Many men far wiser that I are at work today planning social and economic change. For their creative labors, every thinking person must be grateful. We must join with them in the struggle to obtain a common victory for economic, industrial, and political democracy through the world. At the same time it should be recognized that the healthier society must be built by healthier human beings!
"The average person is at moments consumed with feelings of guilt about his relations to those closest to him; he wants to love people but feels withdrawn, rigid, and somehow frozen. At other moments he grows afraid without knowing exactly why he is afraid; he is particularly confused and unhappy when he faces the loss of a loved one or confronts the thought of his own death.


"Many religious books only conspire to make him feel more guilty and more sinful while many psychological books, although trying to reassure him, merely add to his inner confusion by making him feel somehow that he is a 'case history' in abnormal psychology. People keep their troubles and worries often too much to themselves because they do not know where to turn for wise guidance.
"Personal experience plus rich and varied contacts in my ministry led me to believe that a book written by a religionist explaining just what modern psychology has discovered about human beings, why we sometimes hate ourselves and hate others, why we grow afraid, why we lose faith in life and a God, might be of real help to perplexed moderns. This science also tells us what we can do to change ourselves and our mental attitudes in relation to our own personalities and in inter-relations with other human beings."