Thursday, April 26, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Life)

You are free to give life meaning, whatever meaning you want to give it.

LIFE means, 1. To exist and co-exist harmoniously; 2. To love one another; 3. To take care of our environment; 4. To be productive; 5. To serve God and obey our parents; 6. To advocate love, peace and harmony; 7. To be decent and law-abiding; 8. To respect the universal laws on human, alien and animal rights.


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Listener)

It takes a great man to be a good listener.

Ordinary people aren't exempted from becoming great if they practice the art of listening and incorporate it with the art of learning. Listening will open the doors of knowledge; learning will open the gates of wisdom.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Character)

Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at.

Laughing at a circus joker who tumbles upside down while performing acrobatics is no big deal; that’s a normal reaction. Laughing at a fat lady who rolled seven times after accidentally slipping on a banana peel means there is a need to check our GMRC.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Are you mentally OK, kapitan?

“Do you know the difference between neurotics and psychotics? Neurotics build castles in the sky; psychotics move into them.”
― Tanya Thompson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Even before the start of the campaign period for the 2018 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in the Philippines, some candidates were already showing signs of mental disorder or psychopathy.
In the previous elections neuro test wasn’t required when candidates filed their certificates of candidacy (COC), so we can't expect that all winners in the May 14, 2018 elections will be sane and mentally fit.
A legislation must be pushed to empower the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel or declare as null and void the victory of any barangay official--chairman, councilman or SK official--found to be unfit mentally or with serious case of neurosis.
So many cases of insanity or weird behaviors displayed by elected barangay officials have been recorded in the past.
Instead of being an asset to the smallest political unit in the country, barangay aldermen with brain damage have become thorns and liabilities.
In the early 90’s, for instance, a forlorn punong barangay or village chief in Iloilo City missed golden opportunities to serve his constituents and shine as a promising leader because he had to spend much of his time in the psychiatric ward of the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC).


In one media gathering held at the RPTA Hall of the old Iloilo provincial capitol sometime in December 1992, a “deranged” village chief suddenly barged inside and threatened to throw a grenade into the crowd.
The late DYRP broadcaster Sol Genson pacified the “lunatic” and convinced him to leave the premises when everyone was adamant to talk to him.
He was boisterous and uncontrollable but eventually listened to Sol, his drinking buddy at Virgo night club.
When the late Pres. Cory Aquino appointed Rosa "Tita" Caram as OIC city mayor in April 1986, another “lunatic” village chief asked Iloilo City’s first woman local chief executive to extend the route of Dinagyang tribes to Port San Pedro "so that people of Guimaras and Negros can watch the event."
Mayor Caram, wife of former Iloilo Assemblyman Fermin “Nene” Caram, dismissed his "crazy" idea right away.
A village chief in Jaro district always brought with him a monkey in the barangay hall because the monkey had supposedly helped “inspire” him when he won in the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” show in Manila.
He accused a barangay councilman of poisoning the monkey, who died under a mysterious circumstance.
The “lunatic” village chief reportedly wanted to bury the animal in Christ The King Cemetery in Ungka, Jaro district and wanted to use the barangay funds.
"I opposed this crazy idea of our kapitan!" shouted the suspect in the monkey's death, who came to our office at Sun Star Iloilo to report the "abuse of authority."


Former Iloilo Gov. Simplicio “Sim” Grino had to ask help from provincial tourism officer Manny Benedicto to escort a disoriented village chief back from capitol to the lunatic's municipality in Dumangas because he kept on addressing Gov. Grino as "Congressman Monfort" and for loitering inside the governor's office.
"Indi ako si Narsing (the late Iloilo 4th district Rep. Narciso Monfort). Si Sim ako. Gob Sim Grino kapila ka na gid hambalan (I am Gov. Sim Grino and I have already corrected you several times)," an impatient Grino ribbed the village chief.
"Lakat ta kap makadto ta kay Narsing (Come kapitan, we will go to Narsing)," Benedicto convinced the village chief.
It’s the most common dilemma. Because vote-buying has been rampant even in the barangay level, hoodlums and mentally deranged can be elected into office.
If a punong barangay is not a drug addict, he is a drug pusher.
If he is not engaged in selling of illegal drugs, he is engaged in illegal gambling and maintenance of prostitution dens--or in cahoots with operators of these illegal activities.
Or he is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Let’s scrutinize our candidates carefully and vote wisely.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

We’ll wake you up in October

“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it.”
-- Martin Parr

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Good night, Boracay.
Sleep well starting April 26, 2018 and allow efforts by the national government to deodorize, purify, and clean you up.
You will undergo a massive rehabilitation and a little face-lifting for six months, as promised by the Duterte administration.
You will take a unique forced “vacation leave” and will temporarily be dislodged from the radar of the world’s most preferred tourist destinations this summer.
Since business will come to a screeching halt albeit temporarily, the island’s economy will go slow, too, and is expected to have a domino effects in the Local Government Unit of Malay, Aklan and its environs.

Activities and work forces in resorts, hotels, and restaurants will have to be dispersed for a brief moment, and the idyllic beach will be free from contamination of human wastes and sewage from commercial establishments for the time being.
Filipinos will be waiting with bated breath as the combined forces of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Tourism (DoT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), provincial government of Aklan, municipal government of Malay, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) do their Herculean tasks.
Boracay, we promise to wake you up in October.


Robert Bly’s “Waking from Sleep” can be best dedicated to Boracay’s temporary slumber:

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth,
Tiny explosions at the waterlines,
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood.
It is the morning. The country has slept the whole winter.
Window seats were covered with fur skins, the yard was full of stiff dogs, and hands that clumsily held heavy books.
Now we wake, and rise from bed, and eat breakfast!
Shouts rise from the harbor of the blood,
Mist, and masts rising, the knock of wooden tackle in the sunlight.
Now we sing, and do tiny dances on the kitchen floor.
Our whole body is like a harbor at dawn;
We know that our master has left us for the day.

Monday, April 23, 2018

‘AIDS of environment’ worse than ‘cesspool’

“We don't have to sacrifice a strong economy for a healthy environment.”
-- Dennis Weaver

By Alex P. Vidal

-- When tourists fled from Guimaras’ popular beach resorts as a result of the worst oil spill in the Philippines when the oil tanker Solar I went down off Guimaras Island in August 2006, Nagarao Beach, among other resorts within the coastal area, suffered worse than what is about to happen to Boracay in Malay, Aklan which closes down for six months starting April 26, 2018.
While President Rodrigo R. Duterte tagged Boracay as “cesspool”, the tragedy that hit Guimaras resorts was called as the “AIDS of environment.”
A “cesspool” beach can be rehabilitated with total support from government, while a famous tourist destination with location in the vicinity of an “AIDS environment” might not be able to spring back to life.
Even if those affected by the oil spill sued the oil refiner Petron Corporation for millions of damages, resort owners failed to attract back tourists who used to flock the island’s beautiful resorts and beaches even after the rehabilitation.


Martin Stummer, owner of Nagarao Beach, had warned: "The ill effects on the health of the residents will be felt until ten years and even beyond."
Although still popular among the tourists who used to visit the island for snorkeling and diving--especially those with links to Stummer’s European networks--the 10-hectare Nagarao Beach, located off the coast of Sibunag town, was never the same again.
The coastal areas of Nueva Valencia, Sibunag and San Lorenzo towns were among the areas worst hit by the oil spill from the 998-ton tanker MT Solar 1 that sunk on Aug. 11, 2006 while transporting about two million liters of bunker fuel oil from Limay, Bataan.
The oil slick had reached Concepcion and Ajuy towns in Iloilo province.


If the dumped sewage will be rehabilitated, Boracay can be back to business in October or even earlier, according to government officials.
In 2017, Boracay had 500 tourism-related businesses, which had a combined revenue of P56 billion.
The president lashed at the island’s hotels, restaurants and other businesses, accusing them of dumping sewage directly into the sea and turning it into a “cesspool” in February this year.
Boracay’s drainage system was being used to send the untreated sewage into its surrounding turquoise waters, reported the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Some 195 businesses, along with more than 4,000 residential customers, were not connected to sewer lines, the DENR further discovered.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Journalist Herbert Vego and the New York Parade

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
-- Gilbert K. Chesterton

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I’m glad to know that a legitimate and truly respected veteran journalist from Iloilo City, Philippines will be coming to New York City to chronicle the 120th Philippine Independence Day Parade on June 3, 2018.
Herbert Vego, 68, a columnist and editor since obtaining an AB-Journalism course at the Manuel L. Quezon University in 1971, will also actually join the Philippines’ official representative, 2018 Dinagang Festival grand winner Tribu Panayanon of Iloilo City National High School, in the celebration for the Filipino American community held every year at Madison Avenue.
In New York, Mr. Vego is expected to meet and interview philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Parade’s chief supporter and the most influential leader, among other celebrities, in the Filipino American community.
Mr. Vego, who hails from San Pedro, Antique, is one of the only few living, most active and highly respected Ilonggo journalists today who emerged unscathed from the dark years of Martial Law in the 70s.


He is also expected to reunite and interview New York-based Filipino president of the World Youth Alliance (WYA), Lord Leomer Pomperada, 26, son of Vego’s friend, Merlyn Bayombong, of San Jose, Antique.
More importantly, Mr. Vego will finally have a chance to embrace his only son, Norberto, a nurse, who has been based in upstate New York, after a long time.
Tribu Panayanon has received invitations to join the parade from the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) through past president Joji Jalandoni, who graced the 2018 Dinagyang Festival together with liaison officer Jay Balnig in January.
Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. (IDFI) chairperson Ramon Cua Locsin and City Tourism Office chief Junel Ann Divinagracia are expected to spearhead the Dinagyang entourage.
The tribe was expected to hurdle financial difficulties that nearly stymied its participation in the 2018 Aliwan Fiesta in Manila, an annual competition of the country’s best festivals, from April 26 until 28.


SERENO AND THE ILONGGO LAWYERS. On-leave Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who has been busy attending graduation ceremonies all over the country, was recently seen in several photo-ops with prominent personalities in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Iloilo Chapter.
She seemed to be “at home” with her companeros and companeras in that part of the country.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Abdiel Dan Fajardo, incidentally, is an Ilonggo who has been consistently calling for independence among government branches and the respect for law in the country.
Fajardo urged President Rodrigo Duterte and other public officials in September last year to not be “onion-skinned” as “a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny.”
Fajardo has been standing firm that the Supreme Court en banc has no jurisdiction over the integrity issue of a chief justice even as he echoed the assertion of Sereno's camp that the correct way to remove a sitting chief justice is through the process of impeachment.