Saturday, November 27, 2021

I’m The Alalay


“Most people are overconfident about their own abilities. That is probably a good thing. But we would be horrified if a physician's aide engaged in heart surgery.”

Andrew Lo

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

BECAUSE of recent developments, I need to communicate with all of you right now with absolute urgency and dispatch while I am still a “presidentiable.”

“Still” and not “will remain as” because rumors have started to spread that I would soon withdraw from the presidential race.

To tell you frankly, I myself don’t even know if I will still be a presidential candidate tomorrow, next week, or next month. If the Angry Man wants me to continue or discontinue with my candidacy, who am I to disobey him? 

You see, it’s the Angry Man who’s responsible why I’ve been promoted from being an obscure The Alalay to senator, and now presidential candidate.

I just follow the leader; I don’t have the power to decide on my own because it’s the Angry Man who holds the remote control of my political life.

It’s fine with me because I owe everything to the Angry Man—my political life; my negosyo life; my personal life; my love life (please don’t be malicious ha).

 

-o0o-

 

I’m not ashamed to be The Alalay. In fact, it’s a badge of honor. It’s big privilege; it has given me a lot of advantages. 

Because of my being The Alalay of the Angry Man, I’m now on top of the world; I’m the unofficial “little president” and sometimes being mistaken for the Angry Man’s “other man” (again ha, please don’t be malicious).

I get what I want that’s why the Daughter-Who-Cried-Wolf is jealous of me, she rejected me as her running mate when I first aspired for the vice presidency and the Angry Man wanted her to seek the presidency.

I am being blamed why the Angry Man and the Daughter-Who-Cried-Wolf are now estranged politically. Nahiya naman ako no. Ganyan pala ako ka lakas kay the Angry Man? 

Not all The Alalays in the country or in the whole world, by the way, could instantly become a senator from being a “coffee maker.”

Not all The Alalays could help their families corner juicy government projects and win multi-billion contracts in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other easy-to-manipulate government agencies we have been using as milking cows. 

Pretty soon, this The Alalay will become president—if the Angry Man won’t terminate my candidacy. I’m very sure of my victory. The Angry Man, my major benefactor and endorser is still in power and is feared by everyone, don’t you ever forget. 

Wat tar wee en pawer por?

 

-o0o-

 

I know I can beat Bongit, Lady Gaga, The Illiterate, Closet Queen, Macho Dancer/Call Boy, Labor Leader even if the election will be held in December. 

It’s simple mathematics; we don’t need to be college professors or arithmetic geniuses: he who “controls” the Smartmatic wins the contest. 

Did I tell you earlier that the Angry Man is still in power until June 2022 and he is being feared like Acephali, a headless humanoids? 

And who is the Angry Man’s favorite or choice to replace him? It’s me, The Alalay. 

I’m confident of beating all my rivals because the Angry Man’s fanatics are still in the millions and most of them can deliver the votes for me.

Even without the Angry Man’s endorsement, I will surely win in the election because I have the full backing of the People’s Republic of Sea Bully and because of the dole outs (using the taxpayers money, anyway) I regularly distribute to the poor.

There’s no doubt I am now very popular in our country. My face is so familiar with the voters. Before I became as The Alalay, I was already known as the “pambansang anino” because I prominently placed my face alongside the face of the Angry Man wherever he went and in whatever event. It was a very effective technique. Look who and what I am today?   

Like my boss, aye heet dragz also but some of the suspected drug lords from the People’s Republic of Sea Bully now owe me debts of gratitude because they were able to corner multibillion contracts to produce substandard pandemic supplies, among other rackets which was actually a payback for helping finance the candidacy of the Angry Man in the 2016 election. 

Again, if the Angry Man will not pull me out in the presidential race, I will continue with my candidacy and win. Ngayon pa lang mag umpisa na kayo pa sip-sip sa akin—the next His Excellency The Alalay. Don’t forget me. I’m The Alalay.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—ED)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

I said ‘hello’ to Baby Yoda and Pikachu

BABY YODA

 

“It was tremendously satisfying to watch this color parade.”

Erno Rubik

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

PARDON me for being a child again, but I was among the thousands of excited and screaming spectators who watched and welcomed back the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with open arms, and under picture-perfect skies, as the iconic march returned for its 95th year on November 25 in the streets of New York City.

It was a different feeling watching the parade unfold “live” before your eyes. 

The risk of being maimed by different warm and large bodies in the crowd was worth it. Never mind the cold temperature. I missed the thrill and excitement for straight two years (in 2019 because I was in New Jersey, and in 2020, the pandemic year).

The parade route, which covered 2.5 miles (4km) through Manhattan, with more than 8,000 marchers taking part, was filled with a big crowd coming from the different states and countries, a manifestation that the Empire City struck by pandemic since 2020, was back with a vengeance.

PIKACHU

The child in me got fascinated with Baby Yoda, Snoopy and Papa Smurf, who were among the balloons spotted flying over the packed streets of Manhattan, while at ground level, marching bands, performers and, of course, a turkey kept the crowds entertained.

 

-o0o-

 

Baby Yoda, who delighted fans in the Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, was actually a new balloon for 2021.

Also the other first-timers who made their debut as a pair were Pokemon characters Pikachu and Eevee.

It felt like there were more people than ever before lining the streets from Central Park West down to Herald Square.

Thousands of marchers, hundreds of clowns, dozens of balloons and floats-and, of course, Santa Claus-marked the latest U.S. holiday event to make a comeback as vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration made officials and some of the public more comfortable with big gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.

Safety measures continued as parade staffers and volunteers had to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, though some singers and performers were allowed to shed them. 

 

-o0o-

 

There was no inoculation requirement for spectators, it was reported, but Macy's and the city encouraged them to cover their faces.

The parade stepped off at 9 o’clock in the morning on the Upper West Side, and what followed were all the sights and sounds this one-of-a-kind parade has delivered for decades.

The parade, the most colorful and most well-attended in the world, featured 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 inflatables, 9 performance groups and a host of celebrities, including Jon Batiste, Kristin Chenoweth, Foreigner, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Carrie Underwood and Santa Claus.

Some of those balloons were four stories high and as wide as a New York City taxicab.

Also taking part were 10 marching bands from all across the country and 800 very enthusiastic clowns.

They marched the 2.5 mile parade route with joy-and it was very much what New Yorkers needed after last year's made-only-for-television parade, which was shortened to one block due to the pandemic.

"Everyone's masked, I'm vaccinated, we feel safe," said one woman. "And it's great starting to get things back. It's great to see the city coming back again."


The balloons were blown up Wednesday (November 24) ahead of their Thanksgiving Day flights, with the annual inflation event from noon until 6 o’clock in the evening for vaccinated guests only.

Thirty-six novelty and heritage inflatables joined this year's edition.

The new class of balloons included Ada Twist, Scientist by Netflix; a Funko Pop! inspired Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) from the Star Wars series "The Mandalorian;" Ronald McDonald by McDonald's USA; and Pikachu & Eevee by The Pokémon International Company.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two Iloilo dailies.—ED)

Jesus will ‘kick’ a sex trafficker on face


“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?”

Jesus Christ

 

By Alex P. Vidal 

 

GOD doesn’t tolerate foolishness even if you’re a lunatic who claims to have a “kinship” with the Creator.

In fact, if Jesus Christ can only untangle himself from the cross, he will “kick” Apollo Quiboloy on the face if the self-styled pastor is using the son of God’s name in vain.  

But Quiboloy, a preacher who once claimed he talked to God, is presumed innocent of the child sex trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, among other charges, until proven otherwise.

That’s due process under the law of man.

We can’t tell if God gives a “due process” to those who traffic and sexually abuse minors.  

On the other hand, it is also possible that some of the complainants had been coached by their lawyers.

Sex trafficking and human trafficking victims can get a green card or permanent residency under the United States law.

 

-o0o-

 

But if Quiboloy and his cohorts really abused and exploited the women, three of whom were reportedly minors, by all means they must be extradited and put behind bars.

It’s time to teach him or them a lesson and show him or them that they’re not above the law, assuming all the charges against him and his cohorts were true. 

There have been moves from US authorities to reportedly seek to confiscate the 71-year-old self-styled pastor’s US assets which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said were “ill-gotten.”

Quiboloy and eight of his associates were indicted by federal authorities for engaging in a “criminal conspiracy” that included sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, marriage and visa fraud, and other violations of federal law.

They belong in the megachurch Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), The Name Above Every Name, which he founded in 1985. The church claims to have a following of over 6 million in 200 countries.

 

-o0o-

 

Quiboloy, who has been claiming to be “appointed son of God”, also risks losing some of the prime assets of his religious empire, including a Cessna Citation Sovereign, a private aircraft with a current market value of $18 million, a Bell 429 helicopter, several luxury cars and real estate holdings, such as a million-dollar mansion which he allegedly owns in Calabasas, California, where America’s rich and famous live, if US authorities succeed in the criminal forfeiture.

Other properties that could be reportedly seized include houses in Las Vegas, Nevada and in Kapolei, Hawaii, as well as the main headquarters of KOJC in the United States with address at 14400 block of Vanowen Street, Van Nuys, California.

The spiritual adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte has been on the radar of US authorities since Feb. 13, 2018, when he was detained for a day in Honolulu after customs officials found gun parts, at least $335,000 in US dollars and another $9,000 in Australian dollars hidden in luggage in his private aircraft.

But Quiboloy was not charged in connection with that incident until last week, and at that time was allowed to return to the Philippines in a commercial flight.

He is best known for his verbal spat with presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao, who had also filed a damage suit against the talkative and controversial pastor.

 

-o0o-

 

NEW YORK Governor Kathy Hochul sent me an e-mail before the Thanksgiving Day: Alex, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're getting ready to enjoy time with family, neighbors, and friends after too many holidays spent apart. My family and I are all vaccinated, and we can't wait to celebrate together safely.

While I know we're all excited to gather for Thanksgiving and the holidays, the threat of COVID-19 is still very real. We're headed into a time when more people are traveling and gathering indoors, and that means the chance of spreading COVID-19 is higher. Unfortunately, we're already seeing cases rises across the state, and we're working closely with local officials to bring cases down and to bring vaccinations up.

New Yorkers, be smart — we have the tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID. We know the best way to beat this virus is to get vaccinated. If you're already vaccinated and boosted, I want you to think about the person in your life who isn't vaccinated yet. Reach out to them and share why you chose to get vaccinated, and encourage them to do the same.

Luckily, our younger kids can now get vaccinated, too. Parents —Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to get your young children vaccinated. Talk to your pediatrician, learn more at ny.gov/VaxForKids, and make an appointment for your child as soon as you can. The vaccines are safe, free, and recommended by doctors and health experts, and it's OK to have questions.

It's so important to keep our loved ones safe, especially during the holidays. If you are feeling sick, stay home. Testing is widely available across New York State and is free. Find a testing site near you. 

Some other tips to help you and your loved ones have a safe holiday: 

Limit your gatherings to only vaccinated family and loved ones

If the weather permits and it's not too cold, open the windows and door for more ventilation

Wear a mask when you're in public indoor places

There is good news, too! Over 90% of adult New Yorkers have gotten at least their first vaccine dose. Remember: If you've gotten your first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, don't forget to get your second dose. And if you're fully vaccinated, be sure to get your booster as soon as you're eligible. There are over 4,500 locations across the state offering boosters, so don't put it off. If you've been looking for the right time to do it, now is that time.

I'm thankful for all of your hard work in getting vaccinated, bringing New York back, and looking out for another throughout this time. Let's prevent a spike in our COVID numbers this winter by celebrating this holiday season safely.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Governor Kathy Hochul

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Why I love this parade



 

“If  you're not in the parade, you watch the parade. That's life.”

Mike Ditka

 

By Alex P. Vidal 

 

I HAVE seen many parades these past years in Vancouver, Toronto, California, Washington DC, Texas, Nevada, but nothing could match New York City’s annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a United States tradition that really draws spectators from around the world.

I became the parade’s admirer only two years after I decided to choose New York as my new residence.

When it comes to pomposity, number of giant floats, balloons and world-class performers, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a cut above the rest.

New York will rise again in this year’s parade after the horrible pandemic that sidelined so many big occasions.

Unlike in the previous years when I was away (either I was in New Jersey or in Virginia), I will be luckier once more as I will be near the parade route Thursday morning (I’ll be out from my graveyard shift early at 8 o’clock in the morning). 

Never mind the freezing temperature; I’ll be there by hook or by crook. 

Every year, except in 2020 when COVID-19 began to terrorize the world, dozens of giant balloons and iconic floats with stunning performances have been part of the magic every New Year's Eve.

Last year’s event was a small pandemic occasion, located next to Macy's flagship store in Herald Square, Manhattan.

 

-o0o-

 

The parade tomorrow (November 25) will start on the Upper West Side and head toward Central Park West, across Central Park South, and down Sixth Avenue before turning onto 34th Street to Macy's on Broadway.

People have been wondering how many hours go into creating the show; how many people are involved in the parade; what’s the height of the tallest balloon; and how many gallons of paint are used in all the designs.

The last answer is 240 gallons, along with 375 brushes, according to a Marca report.

This year marks the parade’s 95th year for the annual celebration that is famously recognized as the kick-off of the holiday season has been around for quite sometime.

The first parade took place in 1924, and was cancelled during 1942, 1943 and 1944 due to World War II, added the Marca report.

Once again, giant character helium balloons will be featured this year.

The balloons-from big character balloons like Pillsbury Dough Boy, Snoopy, and Pikachu and newcomers Ada Twist, Scientist and Baby Yoda, aka Grogu, to the smaller holiday balloons-will be inflated on the Upper West Side early on Wednesday (November 24).

 

-o0o-

 

The inflation will be reportedly open to the public between 12 and 6 p.m., and in addition to vaccinated guests, there will be capacity limits to ensure social distancing.

This year's tallest balloon is 62 feet high (Diary of A Wimpy Kid), the longest balloon is 72 feet wide (Sinclair's DINO), and the widest balloon is 37 feet thick (Tie: Funko's Grogu and Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog).

The parade winds through the streets of Manhattan; it begins at West 77th Street and Central Park West and ends in front of the iconic Macy's flagship store on 34th Street in Herald's Square. 

The path crosses Columbus Circle, Central Park South, and 6th Avenue.

Between two and three million people line the streets to watch the action.

There are reportedly 28 floats in all, and each is made up of hundreds of different scenic pieces and structural elements. However, the floats do not drive themselves, as they are towed by trucks driven by members of New York's Theatrical Teamsters, Local 817.

According to Car and Driver, drivers must even wear a jacket and tie to the parade.

(The author, who is now based in the United States, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)

 

 

Monday, November 22, 2021

I’m Lady Gaga


“I like being the underdog. I like turning around and shutting people up when they tell me I can't.”

Stipe Miocic

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

IN American pop culture, my name is being lionized by both the young and old. 

Fans love everything I wear, including my pink hair, pink lipstick, and the pink ribbons strapped around my neck.

In Philippine politics, I agonize from intrigues and insults from malicious and malevolent characters that surround the Angry Man; and sometimes from no less than the Angry Man himself, who is the “chieftain” of all the derogatory remarks heaped upon the country’s political dissidents, especially maverick women who are the major sources of his terrible insecurities and irrational fears.

His gynophobia, or the fear of being humiliated by women, is unparalleled as manifested by his supreme hatred for them.

Unlike Shakespeare who gave women central roles in moving the plot in his plays forward, making them the catalysts for the drama that unfolds in his tragedies, the Angry Man is allergic to intrepid women, including the seemingly timid opposite sex like me.

 

-o0o-

 

Even if the world was watching, he jailed a feisty woman legislator; he ousted a no-nonsense woman Supreme Court chief; and he tried to jail a loquacious but award-winning woman journalist, and so on and so forth.

And who can forget what he did to me? After unceremoniously ousting me from his cabinet based on gossips and unfounded allegations, he continued to badmouth me like a derelict and questioned my culture mostly in his speeches delivered before a group of diplomats, businessmen, soldiers and local leaders. 

God knows what would have happened to me if I weren’t the second in command, or if I didn’t have a lofty mandate from the people.

The Angry Man belittled my capability to lead the nation and even vowed to oppose my presidential bid, which he really did (but I doubt if he will succeed). 

 

-o0o-

 

Abetted by the scalawags who wanted to massage his ego, they fabricated stories and spread innuendos against me using his trolls in the social media and other platforms in a desperate attempt to disparage me and my children.

Because they didn’t stop telling incredible lies about me, the incredible and awful truth exploded on their faces. 

They are now shifting their rattled and demoralized forces on Bongit, the sore loser who summoned all the bad spirits in Mavroneri or the "Black Water" in the Peloponnese in a bid to take away the title I won in a neck-and-neck duel in 2016.

Now that Bongit is again back in the hustings for a rematch against me, his own demolition team has also been busy building up filthy stories to sabotage my candidacy and match, if not surpass, the bestiality being mobilized against me by the Angry Man’s dark forces midway in this presidential race.   

Both the Angry Man and Bongit have ax to grind against me and it’s unfortunate their animosity heated up at the time when they were supposed to join forces and easily steamroll a numerically inferior common enemy that is yours truly.

This means I am now facing a Joseph Goebbels in one corner and a Rasputin on another side all at the same time. The good thing, however, is their Goebbels and Rasputin might first tear each other apart now that the Angry Man and Bongit are at each other’s throats, before they could tackle me.

By the time they have emptied their bullets against each other, I may have already pulled away by a mile on my way to sweet victory.

I am not Nostradamus, but, modesty aside, I think I will be the third woman president in history after the final smoke has been cleared. 

I don’t underestimate the Illiterate, the Macho Dancer/Call Boy, the Closet Queen, the Alalay, and the Labor Leader, but it’s destiny. 

In 1986, when Bongit Sr. seemed to be unbeatable, heaven sent a housewife to implement the so-called wind of change.    

In 2022, when everything seems hopeless, heaven will send Lady Gaga. That’s me. Please don’t forget my name. I’m Lady Gaga.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)

        

 

 

   

Sunday, November 21, 2021

I’m Bongit


“A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life.”

Robertson Davies

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

FOR those of you who aren’t familiar with me, in our family they call me Bongit, not Bongbong. 

There are associates and familiar characters who address me as Bongbong, but I’m still known as Bongit to most of them.

It’s not a lampoon when some pundits refer to me as Bongit; it is really how my close friends and family members call me.

It’s not really important actually.

You can call me Bongit or Bongbong while I am not yet the president. Once I have taken my oath as president next year, of course, call me Mr. President. Drop the Bongit.  

Let’s not beat around the bush here: I was the one being referred to by the Angry Man as the presidential candidate who allegedly used cocaine.

I chose the word “used”, a past tense, because “it’s a thing of the past” although I will not admit it—and, of course, I won’t dignify it.

I won’t waste my precious time defending myself when I have not been named in that unprovoked spiel, although it’s crystal clear I was the one being targeted by the Angry Man. 

Once he mentions my name, I will rise to the occasion and defend my dignity not only as a leading presidential aspirant, but as a human being. I will never allow any bully to besmirch the good name of my family.

 

-o0o-

 

I would be hypocrite if I won’t admit I was hurt with the Angry Man’s fusillade; it’s very unpresidentiable. It goes to my nerves, to be frank about it. 

My friends and family, especially my beloved mom, Imeldific, were really hurt and utterly dumbfounded. The Angry Man’s attack was like a stray bullet that went straight to our ceiling and fell on my head but injured the bystanders, especially those who dearly love and respect me. 

In the first place, I am not running against the Angry Man; I owe him nothing. My family isn’t beholden to him. The last time I remember I haven’t crossed paths with him. We neither argued nor engaged in illicit affair.

I can not, for the life of me, recall having said or done something, at least in recent memory, that would ruffle the Angry Man’s feathers.

In fact, me and my family have been so careful not to antagonize the Angry Man knowing fully well his temperament and how awesome the power and influence he wields; he can ruin anyone’s political plans.

He knows how to use his authority to the hilt and is good at bullying the weaklings and those who refuse to toe his line. 

It’s obvious his daughter’s decision to run “only” for vice president didn’t sit well with his grand design, and this what triggered him to run amuck.

He wanted to twist her head and control her political life, but the daughter was firm and proved to all and sundry she was her own woman and rejected the Angry Man as a political stage daddy.

 

-o0o-

 

She must’ve considered her dad as heavy baggage owing to all the scandal, corruption, incompetence, subservience to China, etceterata that has been rampaging the country.

She must’ve also detested her dad’s mind-boggling infatuation to an alalay who was “obligated” to file his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for president in the last minute, so that he could express his frustrations after realizing the daughter could not be the next president when he exits the Palace next year.

She didn’t want the Angry Man’s alalay to be her runningmate and the Angry Man felt she pulled the rug from under him and considered the seditious act as national embarrassment and humiliation.  

I noticed the Angry Man’s demeanor began to drastically change and he started badmouthing me and my good family after his daughter didn’t blink amid pressures for her to shoot for the presidency that would have dashed to pieces the dream Bongit-Daughter-Of-An-Angry Man tandem, which is really unbeatable and always leading in the surveys.

 

-o0o-

 

What have I done to deserve the Angry Man’s demolition binge? 

I haven’t occupied the Palace yet, but he already reckoned I’m a weak leader? 

Is he so aghast and nervous that I did not commit to rescue him from being locked in the calaboose when the international criminal court convicts him and his criminal lapdogs once I become president?

By the way, don’t forget to vote for me for president. I’m confident this time I will beat Lady Gaga, who derailed my political plans when she beat me for vice president in 2016. 

I will beat the former macho dancer/call boy who thinks his brief fame as mayor of a sin city was enough to catapult him to the presidency. I will beat the 1. Illiterate; 2. The Closet Queen; 3. The Alalay; and the Labor Leader. I’m Bongit.   

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)

Saturday, November 20, 2021

A lesson to all thieves

“We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

WE will not anymore add insult to the injury of former Iloilo second district Rep. Judy Syjuco, who was recently found guilty “beyond reasonable doubt” of graft by the Sandiganbayan in connection with a vocational education program funded with P20 million from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in 2005.

She and several others have been sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison and were further perpetually disqualified by the anti-graft court from holding public office.

In her age and status in society, it’s inconceivable to imagine her being locked up in jail. 

We believe she may not have actually stolen the money for her whims and caprices; but she had to be indicted as a command responsibility even if she did not literally pocket the public funds.

When public funds are stolen, the thieves should be penalized especially if they are public officials who have been entrusted of the funds and to protect the taxpayers’ interest.  

With a budget of P20 million, the education program was actually ran by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) that was then headed by her late husband Augusto, who had also served as congressman in the same district.

Instead, may her predicament serve as a big lesson to all other happy-go-lucky public officials who steal from the taxpayers and think they can get away with it.   

 

-o0o-

 

Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas has beaten to the draw, so to speak, some of the national candidates running for president, vice president and senators when he became the first local chief executive to "condemn in the strongest term possible" the actions of three Chinese Coast Guard ships that reportedly blocked and fired water cannons against two Filipino boats on Nov. 16.

If he were running for national office, Treñas’ popularity would have zoomed to heights if a survey was conducted anytime after he suggested in a statement that "we cannot let this go and forgotten.”

His words had reverberated and was picked up by the national press.

The Ilonggo city mayor had also asked the national government to press for a diplomatic protest. It may be recalled that the boats were carrying food and other supplies for a Marine detachment at Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, or located about 105 nautical miles off Palawan, Philippines, well within the country's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

Department of Foreign (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the boats had to abort their resupply mission even if nobody was injured in the incident.

 

-o0o-

 

I received another email on November 17 from New York Governor Kathy Hochul which she also sent to other New Yorkers:

Alex, Thanksgiving is just a week away! I hope you're looking forward to the holiday as much as I am, and that you've got all your plans in place to celebrate safely. Remember: get the vaccine if you haven't, get a booster if you have, wear a mask, & keep practicing social distancing.

Let's dive in.

BOOSTER DOSES. If you feel that you are at risk for COVID and are already fully vaccinated, get the booster. And if you are unsure about the booster shots, please talk with your health care provider. Visit ny.gov/boosters to learn more about the COVID boosters and see if you're eligible.

YOUTH VACCINATIONS AT MASS VAX SITES. Ten of New York's mass vaccination sites are now administering the COVID-19 vaccine to newly eligible 5- to 11- year-olds. Parents and guardians can make appointments at a state-run vaccine site for their child at ny.gov/vaccine.

REMEMBER TO ENTER OUR VAX BADGE STICKER CONTEST. We launched a contest so kids can proudly share that they're vaccinated. Parents and guardians can enter their child's designs by submitting an image of your design to me (@GovKathyHochul) via social media, say where you're from and use the hashtag #NYVaxForKids. Lucky winners from across the state will be selected to be featured on our "I'm Vaccinated" stickers!

As of November 16, 2021, there are 2,102 New Yorkers hospitalized with COVID-19. Our 7-day percentage positivity average was 3.47%, which is up from 2.78% last week.

Per the CDC as of November 17, 2021, 89.3% of adult New Yorkers have at least one vaccine dose. So far, 28,627,601 total vaccine doses have been administered, and 95,434 doses were administered over the past 24 hours.

QUESTION: Will my Excelsior Pass be updated now that I've received the booster shot (third Pfizer dose)? (Pat, Westchester County)

ANSWER: At this time, an Excelsior Vaccination Pass only includes an individual’s initial vaccine series. It does not include a boosters and/or additional doses. However, as of November 8, New Yorkers who received a booster or additional dose can retrieve their Excelsior Vaccination Pass Plus which includes all COVID-19 doses received to date. If you retrieved your Excelsior Vaccination Pass Plus before this update, visit epass.ny.gov to retrieve a new Excelsior Vaccination Pass Plus at any time. Following the November 8 update, New Yorkers can expect their booster or additional doses to be available 3-4 days after receiving their shot.

We've made great progress in getting vaccinated, with more than 89% adult New Yorkers with at least one dose, and now that they're eligible, our kids are stepping up to the plate and getting the vaccine. Thank you to all the young New Yorkers (and their parents) who are keeping themselves and their loved ones safe ahead of the holidays. Hope you have a great rest of your week, New York. Ever Upward, Governor Kathy Hochul

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)