Monday, September 24, 2018

Treñas places Baronda on firing line

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
-- Hubert H. Humphrey

By Alex P. Vidal

-- By naming former Iloilo City councilor Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda as “first congresswoman-to-be” in an event in Brgy. Cubay, Jaro district on September 22, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas has initiated the first move to place the head of the lady politician on the firing line.
When Baronda’s jealous critics or potential rivals--or the supporters of her rivals--begin to throw darts at her, it’s because Treñas gave them the idea on how many tanks and ammunition are they now going to assemble and prepare this early against a known enemy.
By the time the official showdown begins, Baronda’s potential adversaries may have built an enormous armory and battalions to storm and piss her off; they may have studied the right recipe to wreck her during the campaign period.
Even before the start of the campaign sortie, Baronda’s enemies are expected to start tormenting her with issues that will push her in the brink of mental and emotional anguish, and force her to rethink whether it’s worth her salt to be in the political hot seat when she could have relaxed and enjoyed her private life as an ordinary civilian if she did not throw her hat on the political ring once again.
That’s the downside of having to disclose your forces earlier.


On the other hand, Treñas’ hint of preference for Baronda will finally put to an end the guessing game and stop giving other congressional wanna-bes close to Treñas false hopes and false imaginations.
This will give former Iloilo City councilor Nielex “Lex” Tupas the leverage to assert his independence and boost his chances to be wooed and possibly endorsed by other parties.
Tupas did not announce his plans for the 2019 elections during his birthday in August as he had promised earlier, but this gave his rivals the blank wall and the jigsaw puzzle of what lies ahead in as far as his rumored candidacy for congressman is concerned.
This will also pave the way for Councilor Joshua Alim to finally consider forging an alliance officially with the groups of Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Dra. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez to complete the cast for the Armageddon.


As a “graduating” council member, Alim has been a shoo-in for the congressional contest even before Baronda’s name had surfaced; even before Tupas had made many Ilonggos think it’s about time he was elected in congress instead of “wasting” his talent in the National Youth Commission (NYC) which he had served briefly before calling it a day when the Duterte administration took over.
By revealing earlier his preference for the congressional post he would soon vacate to run for city mayor in the May 2019 local elections, Treñas was also sending a curt message to his brother-in-law, Espinosa III, that “you’re time is up.”
Once Treñas will officially endorse Baronda, it will be tantamount to shutting the door with finality to the dream
Espinosa-Treñas tandem for congressman and city mayor in the May 2019 elections.
Baronda was, of course, elated with Treñas’ statement that he was “60 percent certain” of picking her to be his bet for congress.
Her sharpness and agility to surmount the major challenge in the May 2019 elections will be put to severe test in the next weeks and months once she will start to feel the heat of the dirty side of political mudslinging.
Good luck, congressional candidate-to-be, Jamjam Baronda.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Trust)

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

When trust has been broken, it is hard to regain it just like a glass which can never be brought back to its original appearance if hit by a stone or incurs a crack.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Stop talking; just build the bridge

“When politics is no longer a mission but a profession, politicians become more self-serving than public servants.”
-- Emmanuel Macron

By Alex P. Vidal

-- With the first “ber” month this year already about to become part of history, the much-ballyhooed construction of the P42 billion Panay-Guimaras-Negros island bridge has continued to be a wild imagination.
Not even the presence of a pile of rocks, pebbles, sand or any other concrete construction materials can be spotted anywhere near the purported construction site.
No “Men at Work” signs; no front loaders; no bulldozers; no backhoes; no dump trucks; no trenchers; no graders; no cranes; no nothing.
Yet, if we listen to politicians and top government officials in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), “the construction fo the bridge will start before the end of the year.”
What year?


The problem in the Philippines since time immemorial is that politicians are the most talkative when it comes to the implementation of gargantuan projects.
These blabbermouths always occupy the front seats when it comes to publicity; they are always in mad scramble to grab the credit and speak in the media as if they play a Yeoman’s role in the projects; as if the projects can’t take off if they won’t waste any saliva and brag about these projects like their own.
The truth is they contribute nothing except to grandstand and use the occasion to score “pogi” points for their own selfish political agenda and, to some extent, their whims and caprices as self-centered politicians.
If the agencies concerned were headstrong and determined to implement the project on the specified timetable, there was no need for the so-called the Visayan Bloc, an organization of Visayan-speaking congressmen, to call on the government to start immediately the bridge construction.
Because nothing has happened ever since the DPWH and NEDA wisecracks loudly announced the construction of the Panay-Guimaras bridge first ”before the end of the year”, VB convenors, Reps. Alfredo ‘Albee” Benitez (PDP-Laban, Negros Occidental) and Jerry Trenas (NP, Iloilo), were obliged to issue a statement appealing to the national government to commence the ambitious project.
The Ilonggo solons claimed they were “committed to strongly support” the project that is part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.


If the DPWH and NEDA were telling the truth about the date of the construction, there was no need for the VB to go as far as making an appeal to their House colleagues to back the ambitious project that will link Panay to Negros island, through Guimaras.
What can their fellow solons do to hasten the construction which is under the tutelage of the government’s executive branch?
Their job is to legislate laws, not to implement the projects.
Or the VB is urging their colleagues in a subtle manner to also tell the Duterte boys to “shut up and hit the ground running.”
It was earlier reported in the Philippine media that “there is a strong likelihood” that the Guimaras-Negros bridge, spanning 5.7 kilometers, will be started before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was also reported that the 14.3-kilometer Panay-Guimaras link can be completed by 2021 if construction will begin in 2018.


Meanwhile, here’s what the VB declared in the statement:
“We believe that Region 6 has so much potential for tourism and economic opportunities that can be maximized through the creation of accessory infrastructures such as the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge that will enhance connectivity within the region.
“The project shall improve transportation connectivity and efficiency and promote regional economies by way of enhancing productivity, attracting investments and generating more revenues for localities in the region.”
Nice try.
Let’s hope Malacanang won’t take the “impassioned” statement for granted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Falling, God)

If you fall seventy times a day, rise seventy times and return to God so that you will not fall too often.

As humans we are expected to fall from time to time. But we must struggle to rise each time we go down. God will wait for those who pick themselves up and return to Him even if they walk on wobbly legs. But we should not expect God to come down from heaven and pull us up using His own muscles.

Mind-boggling twin typhoons

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”
--Frank Lane

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Unbelievable but it was the first time in many years that I monitored on tenterhooks over BBC News and CNN (while I was in Brooklyn) the two super typhoons simultaneously lashing at my country in the Philippines and in the United States over the weekend.
I’m referring to the super howler “Ompong” or “Mangkhut” which killed 70 Filipinos (and was on its way to China) and the hurricane “Florence”, which flooded North Carolina and drowned more than 30 residents (death toll was expected to rise) almost at the same.
We also particularly noticed these past months that the weathers in the Philippines and the United States appeared to be synchronized.
It there were heavy rains in the Philippines, other parts of the US were also raining hard.
When humidity in the tropical Philippines was at fever-pitch, Americans here also felt like they were placed literally alongside the hell.
Were they “the signs of the times”?
When referring to abnormal weather condition, scientists often use the term "climate change" instead of global warming.
They theorized that as the Earth's average temperature climbs, winds and ocean currents move heat around the globe in ways that can cool some areas, warm others, and change the amount of rain and snow falling.
As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas, it was learned.


Was the abnormal weathers recently experienced in the US and in the Philippines simultaneously what the scientists call as the global warming?
It’s when glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace.
Experts in the subject matter believe “it's becoming clear” that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives.
Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years, scientists noted.
According to scientists, the "greenhouse effect" is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth's atmosphere trap heat. These gases reportedly let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse.
They added that first, sunlight shines onto the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat. In the atmosphere, “greenhouse” gases trap some of this heat, and the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped.
It was learned further that scientists have known about the greenhouse effect since 1824, when Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere.
This greenhouse effect is reportedly what keeps the Earth's climate livable. Without it, the Earth's surface would be an average of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler.
It was reported that in 1895, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that humans could enhance the greenhouse effect by making carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. He kicked off 100 years of climate research that has given us a sophisticated understanding of global warming.

‘How can I win against the media people?’

“It's not opinion polls that determine the outcome of elections, it's votes in ballot boxes.”
-- Nicola Sturgeon

By Alex P. Vidal

-- An Ilonggo architect who lost five times in as many attempts in the race for city councilor once ribbed members of the Fourth Estate in Iloilo City in the Philippines “for not doing your homework.”
Salvador “Jun” Tavarro, Jr. said if reporters were only diligent and sharp in doing investigative reporting, “there would be dozens of public officials hauled off to court for graft and corruption every week.”
He pointed to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as “the No. 1 source of graft and corruption in the country.”
Tavarro, an urban planner, also rebuked the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as “among the most corrupt agencies”.
A part-time instructor in the University of San Agustin, Tavarro exhorted members of the press to study engineering and law.
“Even if you are the best investigative reporter (he was referring to a radio anchorman who blasted him for being a “nuisance” candidate) in your station, you are useless if all you can do is go to the DPWH and interview contractors with ax to grind against the regional director and other department heads.”


Tavarro lamented that many reporters “missed” the opportunity to “hit it big” (expose) because “they don’t understand the engineering terminologies and how the road and infrastructure projects are manipulated by corrupt DPWH officials.”
Millions of taxpayers’ money are being wasted and pocketed by grafters in government because they know how to manipulate public works projects and the public bidding; they know the language in the system; they are familiar and experts in the technicalities and the ins and outs of certain projects, thus they find it easy to confuse the public “while the so-called investigative reporters only interview employees and disgruntled bidders, review and xerox bundles of documents that mostly they don’t understand,” bemoaned the Ilonggo architect.
Graft and corruption in the DPWH, among other agencies, starts in the public bidding process, he said.
The words “ten percent” or sometimes “fifteen percent” are reportedly “normal bywords” and are part of the SOP (standard operating procedure) in graft-ridden government agencies.


“It’s impossible to curb graft and corruption with the kind of system we have. Many grafters in government are getting rich while some infrastructure projects suffer from sub-standard materials and sub-standard implementation,” said Tavarro.
“That’s why members of the press must walk an extra mile by studying the technical terms in every government agency that they cover so they can easily spot the anomalies.”
If a reporter is assigned by his editor or station manager to cover the Hall of Justice beat, for instance, Tavarro stressed, “it is imperative that he knows some legal terms and how the cases are filed in court; and why the accused sometimes face the People of the Philippines in a criminal case.”
Had Tavarro won in all his failed struggles to be elected in the local elections, he would pass a resolution, he said, asking government agencies to explain in simple terms--or in words to be understood by ordinary taxpayers--how government projects are undertaken from start to finish.
Anyone in the hearing distance could understand Tavarro’s sentiments, but they also noticed strikingly that he was apparently concealing a “hard feeling” toward some “more popular” radiomen who ran and won for the same position in every election, thus preventing him from landing in the “Magic 12.”
“I am probably the most qualified candidate in Iloilo City. No one can question my competence and educational background. But, how can I win against (the more popular) the media people?” Tavarro, who always ran as independent, sobbed.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Kindness)

Choose being kind over being right, and you'll be right every time.

If we can't win them by being right, let's capture their hearts with kindness. By being kind to them with all candor and sincerity, they won't give a damn if what we are doing is right or wrong.